Jack in the Box restaurants are rolling out reformulated burger patties, improved buns, and new saucing procedures this week as part of an ongoing plan to upgrade core menu items to drive sales.
The move follows earlier improvements to other key menu items, including fries, bacon, coffee, and tacos. It also comes at a time when the chain’s same-store sales improvements have stabilized and work on menu pricing and commodity costs continue to need navigation.
The new burger patties are tastier, juicier, and have a better texture, said Linda Lang, chairwoman, chief executive and president of the chain’s San Diego-based parent company Jack in the Box Inc.
Menu Upgrades and Value Deals
Jack in the Box is not alone it its plan to rework existing menu items. Competitors across the segment have also invested in core product improvements, such as Wendy’s Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburger that debuted earlier this year, following the launch of more premium burgers at Burger King and McDonald’s.
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At Jack in the Box, such upgrades — combined with restaurant remodels and efforts to improve service — have helped turn around previously sinking sales, the company said after announcing fourth-quarter results yesterday that exceeded company expectations.
The fourth quarter was the fifth consecutive quarter of same-store sales improvements for Jack in the Box, which was hit hard during the recession by high unemployment in its core market of California.
In a call with analysts on Tuesday, the company said value-positioned bundled deals, such as the $2.99 Jumbo Breakfast Platter and the $3.99 Really Big Chicken Sandwich combo, helped drive a significant increase in traffic, but also negatively affected menu mix.
The 5.8-percent increase in same-store sales at company-owned locations in the fourth quarter, for example, reflected an 8.5-percent increase in traffic. Lang said check averages dropped about 2.7 percent, however, because of the discounted promotional activity.
Still, Lang said promotion of the $2.99 breakfast platter was designed to drive trial and introduce guests to its new bacon.
Consumers are still looking for value, she said, and the chain’s bundled meal strategy will continue.