Is Burger King Attempting to Steal Taco Bell's Doritos Thunder?
Burger King, one of the biggest fast food chains in the world, announced Thursday that it is introducing many new items to its menu, including a bacon sundae.
Burger King tested the water with this unusual dessert in Nashville earlier in the year. This trial must have experienced some success, as the company is now taking the bacon sundae national.
The bacon sundae is just one new item on Burger King's much-revived menu. The sundae will sit alongside several new pork, beef and chicken sandwiches and wraps, plus salads and smoothies. Investors might view Burger King's new menu items as evidence that the company is attempting win back customers, after seeing hugely disappointing drops in its market share.
The bacon sundae contains 510 calories, 18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar, so it will not win many fans among healthy eaters.
Rather, Burger King will be hoping to ride the wave created by Yum Brands' (NYSE: YUM) Taco Bell, when it unveiled the Doritos Locos Taco earlier this year.
That item now represents Taco Bell's most successful product launch in its 50-year history. 100 million Doritos Locos Tacos were sold in the first ten weeks. Compare that to McDonald's (NYSE: MCD), which took 18 years to sell its first 100 million burgers.
The success of the Doritos Locos Taco is unprecedented, particularly for such an unusual item that incorporated a shell made out of the popular Doritos chip. Taco Bell/Yum Brands have been so impressed with the sales figures that they are planning to release a Cool Ranch version, while also developing a Hot & Spicy version.
If Burger King wants to replicate the Doritos Locos Taco's success, the company might need to rethink the bacon sundae. While the Doritos Locos Taco is undoubtedly a novelty item, the leap from a regular taco shell to a Doritos taco shell is not nearly as big as the leap from sprinkles and nuts in ice cream to bacon on ice cream.
Taco Bell also had the advantage of combining two strong brands on one product. There are no reports that Burger King is joining forces with a bacon distributor. If the bacon sundae is going to be a success, it is going to need a very strong advertising campaign behind it.
In addition to the sundae, Burger King is adding a Memphis Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich, a Carolina BBQ Whopper or Chicken Sandwich, a Texas BBQ Whopper or Chicken Sandwich, sweet potato fries and frozen lemonade to the menu.
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