Summer Menu Trends: California Pizza Kitchen Adds Strawberry-Focused Menu Offerings

The casual-dining chain has announced that they will be celebrating summer by incorporating strawberries into the upcoming season’s menu.

Shorty, you're looking extra sweet. #StrawberryShortcake

A photo posted by California Pizza Kitchen (@californiapizzakitchen) on

Some of the new berry-tastic, made-to-order menu items include strawberry margaritas and salads featuring the fan-favorite fruit and the “freshest seasonal ingredients.”

“We love summer at California Pizza Kitchen when some of our favorite produce, like sweet strawberries and watermelon, are at their freshest and juiciest,” said Brian Sullivan, SVP of Culinary Innovation at California Pizza Kitchen in a press release.

“Refresh your taste buds with our newest seasonal dishes like the California Fields Salad, with fresh strawberries, juicy watermelon, fresh basil, pistachios, feta and champagne vinaigrette atop crisp field greens. Under 650 calories, the California Fields Salad is deliciously light and refreshing on a warm summer day. Sweeten your meal with the return of our seasonal Strawberry Shortcake, a treat that’s reminiscent of those carefree childhood summer days, or cool down with a hand-shaken Strawberry Lime Margarita or non-alcoholic Fresh Strawberry Mango Cooler, bursting with fresh strawberry flavor.”

Why Strawberry?

CPK isn’t the only brand to jump on the strawberry bandwagon this season, McDonald’s recently announced that their quick-serve stores will now be offering new menu options featuring this red fruit.

Strawberry is consistently a consumer favorite. 94% of households consume this fruit. With the health movement continuing to spread across the country, consumers are gravitating to fresh produce.

Strawberries are also appealing due to their health benefits. 8 strawberries have more vitamin C than an orange and strawberries also have half the sugar than in an apple.

Since there are two major seasons for strawberries, spring and summer for the west coast (California) and winter for the east coast (Florida,) we may see strawberries reemerge on menus in six months.

CPK will be offering these strawberry-themed menu items in most of their stores on both the east and west coast.

So Much More Than Pizza

Although the chain has pizza in their name, the menu is diverse and the brand has effectively marketed themselves to seem like a healthier option. The menu features labels, like vegetarian and gluten-free and then multiple healthier substitutions available, like multigrain penne and fat-free vinaigrette. CPK’s new strawberry-centric salad is being heavily promoted as under 650 calories.  

The restaurant chain is in the middle of a rebranding process. Most of the store have been completely remodeled and there is more to come.

“CPK is resetting the stage for the next 30 years and we are calling this plan our ‘Next Chapter’,” said G.J. Hart, California Pizza Kitchen executive chairman and CEO in a press release. “We have over 280 restaurants in 208 cities and 15 countries around the world, and this plan takes the best of our heritage, history and soul and infuses it with a new look, a new menu and a new experience.”