Burger King last week said it would continue with its strategy of impactful menu additions despite weak Q2 U.S. sales and here’s the proof: The chain on Aug. 15 will introduced nationally its burger-burrito hybrid, the Whopperito.
The Whopperrito uses the same ground beef as Burger King’s burgers, but seasoned with what the company calls “a special blend of spices to deliver an authentic Tex-Mex flavor.” It’s combined with other Whopper ingredients—tomatoes, onions, lettuce and pickles—plus a new ingredient, creamy queso sauce, in place of mayo. It’s all wrapped in a flour tortilla.
The Whopperrito debuts at $2.99, or a recommended $4.99 as part of a combo meal with fries and drink.
In an interview with BurgerBusiness.com, Burger King North America president Alex Macedo, said the idea was developed by a franchisee, but “we brought it back in house to analyze it.” As a result the Whopperrito going national is a little bigger than the original, “which makes more sense with the Whopper name,” Macedo said.
The Whopperito follows Mac n’Cheetos, Grilled Dogs, Whopper Dog, Chicken Fries Rings, Supreme Breakfast Sandwich and the Chicken Fries Dog reportedly testing. That’s a lot of LTO for the first half of 2016. I asked Macedo if Burger King feels a need to develop increasingly over-the-top LTOs to capture the attention of a consumer market that’s just not spending on QSR food as it did in the recent past. Macedo said no, but Burger King’s Burger King’s customers are more adventuresome so the chain is providing new products that will interest them. “The Whopperrito sounds funky, but it’s a mashup of familiar foods: burgers and burritos,” he said.
TV advertising breaking Aug. 15 will focus on how the Whopperito is built. No song and dance. “It’s all food,” Macedo said. “We have done ‘all food’ in some time.”
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers reports Q2 sales & earnings tomorrow (8/9). Does it forecast less-than-stellar numbers that the chain again is hyping its entry-price burger, the Tavern Burger?
A new Buzz Mac ‘N’ Cheese Tavern Double burger has two patties, pepper-Jack cheese, ranch sauce and a layer of mac ‘n cheese. The $6.99 price could boost customer traffic. We’ll know tomorrow if Red Robin needs that boost.
There’s ominous news from the UK, where burgers apparently are making a bit of a menu brexit. Researcher Horizons reports that, while beef burgers, pizzas and chicken burgers remain the three most commonly menued items, beef burgers have endured a 7% slide in menu appearances since last summer. Hot dogs, 2015’s trendiest food, are gone from Horizons’ top 20 list. What’s trending? Burritos (up 56% since summer 2014).
Healthy eating, too, is on the rise. Reports Horizons, “The latest Menu Trends survey shows that main course salads have seen a surge in popularity–up 54% on last year and now ranking at number four in the top 20 most frequently listed main course dishes. The use of pulses [dried seeds, peas, beans, etc.] and fruit has seen one of the largest year-on-year increases, and the term ‘superfood’ is being used 75% more often than it was this time last year.
“Vegetarian dishes now have twice the share they had in 2010, while vegan dishes are on the up, with 21% of the eating out brands surveyed now offering a vegan option. Gluten-free terminology is also more common, having risen 89% over the past two years and wheat-free options are up 80% on menus since last year.”
Diversified Restaurant Holdings (DRH)is separating its chicken and burgers. The Southfield, Mich.-based company is the largest franchisee of Buffalo Wild Wings and is the owner of the 19-store Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern concept. DRH announced it intends to spin-off Bagger Dave’s as a separate, publicly traded company.
One business is franchised; the other is corporately owned, DRH explained. The other reasons it offered for the split:
You already knew the burger business is complex and needs its own set of skills.