As the pandemic keeps us all in a constant state of upheaval, it’s therapeutic to know that we can still count on a few things. The sun always rises, that one family member is still oversharing on Facebook, and Americans will never be able to stuff themselves with enough pumpkin-flavored food and drinks.
If you are a restaurant operator (or simply write about the industry) pumpkin season may seem a bit boring, but I’m betting that many of us are finding comfort in being able to predict at least one thing this year. And as restaurants look for ways to entice customers out of quarantine, the promise of pumpkin spice might be just enough to make someone grab a mask and venture out to the drive-thru. I’m not exaggerating. I have a friend who won’t leave her house for groceries but was at Starbucks first-thing Wednesday morning for the chain’s 2020 debut of its PSL.
So grab a pumpkin muffin, an iced pumpkin latte — or if it’s happy hour — a pumpkin-flavored beer, and check out how a few fast casuals are using fall’s most popular vegetable to provide comfort food during these uncertain times.
From Sept. 1 to Nov. 9, Jamba is serving the Pumpkin Smash Smoothie, and customers may get their fix with the brand’s original recipe or may try the plant-based option.
Made with Jamba’s original pumpkin spice blend, featuring pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg, Jamba’s plant-based smoothie features oat milk and So Delicious Dairy Free oatmilk frozen dessert, while the classic combines 2% milk and frozen yogurt, according to a company press release.
|The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand has launched its fall menu featuring the Pumpkin Latte. Provided|
For a limited time only, fans who download the Jamba app and sign up for My Jamba Rewards will get $3 off their first order and $2 off their second order. Members may order ahead for pick-up or contactless delivery.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand has launched its fall menu featuring the Pumpkin Latte. It’s also serving the Dark Chocolate Chai Tea Latte as well as a Maple Latte and baked goods.
“Nothing awakens the spirit of fall like the flavor of pumpkin and the bold taste and aroma of Chai, especially mixed with rich chocolate,” Nurit Raich, senior director of product innovation, said in a press release.
Fall options include:
- Dark Chocolate Chai Latte, a warm drink that is lightly sweetened with dark chocolate powder.
- Pumpkin Spiced Chai Latte and Ice Blende, a drink that blends chai tea and pumpkin flavors.
- Pumpkin Latte Ice Blended and Cold Brew Coffee, which offer a blend of pumpkin flavor combined with the warming notes of nutmeg and cinnamon.
- Maple Latte and Ice Blended, features espresso highlighted by notes of maple and garnished with maple sugar crystals.
- Bacon Egg and Cheese English Muffin, a breakfast sandwich with warm bacon, egg and cheddar cheese served on an English Muffin.
- Ham Egg and Cheese Brioche, a brioche bun with eggs, black forest ham and cheddar cheese.
- Turkey Swiss, which includes sliced turkey, Swiss cheese and spinach on wheat bread topped with a mild chipotle mayonnaise and roasted red peppers.
- Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf, a bread that’s half pumpkin and half chocolate.
- Vegan Banana Walnut Loaf, vegan banana bread made with real banana puree and chopped walnut pieces.
- Vegan Chocolate Brownie, a vegan brownie with a delicious chocolate flavor and chewy texture.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has 1,094 retail locations across the globe.
|Nektér Juice Bar has created four pumpkin-inspired offerings — Pumpkin Almond Bowl, Pumpkin Spice Smoothie, Pumpkin Mousse Chia Pudding and Pumpkin Superfood Oats.|
Nekter Juice Bar
Nektér Juice Bar has created four pumpkin-inspired offerings — Pumpkin Almond Bowl, Pumpkin Spice Smoothie, Pumpkin Mousse Chia Pudding and Pumpkin Superfood Oats — that preserve the vegetable’s nutrients to help boost immunity, energy and overall wellness, according to a company press release.
Low in calories, pumpkin is high in fiber, protein, antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals that can help optimize immunity, metabolism, heart health and more. Yet, those nutritional benefits can be destroyed when the powerful fruit is ambushed by added sugars and other unnecessary ingredients, CEO Steve Schulze said.
“With America still quite passionate about pumpkin spice, at Nektér Juice Bar, we saw the opportunity to transform this flavor trend into something truly healthy,” he said. “We all enjoy a little indulgence now and again, but we want to challenge our guests to try more nutritious alternatives that really taste great and that will help them live life to the freshest. After all, shouldn’t pumpkin spice be everything nice?”
The fall offerings include:
- The Pumpkin Almond Bowl is a blend of pumpkin, banana, coconut vanilla yogurt, almond butter, pumpkin spices and Nektér’s housemade cashew milk. It’s topped with hemp granola, diced red apples, pepitas and a dash of pumpkin spice and has 16 grams of protein.
- Nektér’s Pumpkin Spice Smoothie includes pumpkin puree, bananas, dates, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, agave and housemade cashew milk. Freshly blended, this immunity-boosting smoothie is an abundant source of fiber, iron, potassium and vitamins A and E.
- Nektér has put a spin on its popular Chia Pudding line-up, adding a Pumpkin Mousse into the mix. It layers vanilla chia pudding made with cashews, dates, chia seeds and agave and housemade pumpkin mousse with cashews, pumpkin puree and agave. It’s topped with hemp granola, pepitas and a dash of pumpkin spice.
- Pumpkin Superfood Oats is made with high-fiber, high-protein steel-cut oats, housemade pumpkin mousse, fuji apple, pepitas, agave and pumpkin spice.
Nékter has more than over 170 locations in the U.S.
Although Starbucks made its fall flavors available last week in grocery stores, it said Tuesday that cafes were also revealing their fall menus.
Options include the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, alongside the Salted Caramel Mocha and Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino blended beverage plus bakery options including the Pumpkin Scone and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin.
|Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is now available.|
Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonades
While guests may associate W
ow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade’s fruit-forward flavors and island vibes with the summer season, the Scottsdale-based fast casual chain is no stranger to fall flavors. Of course, it would not be fall without some pumpkin spice additions on the menu, which is why it has created:
- Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew.
- Pumpkin Spice Nut Butter Toast, a slice of toast topped with pumpkin spice almond butter, bananas, coconut and honey.
- Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew Smoothie, a blend of cold brew, almond milk, pumpkin spice almond butter, bananas, dates and vanilla
The chain is also debuting Plant Energy Lemonades in three fruity flavors, including Lavender Blackberry, Passion Strawberry and Strawberry Pineapple.
Wow Wow was founded in Hawaii in 2012 as a stand but opened its first brick-and-mortar location on Maui in 2014, its first licensed store on the Mainland in 2016 and began franchising in 2017. It has six locations.