Can Burger King's New Menu Take on Wendy's, McDonald's?

Joel Anderson  |

The world of fast food chains was rocked last month when a monumental shift in the market occurred as Wendy's (WEN) passed Burger King (BKC) as the second largest burger chain in America. In the ecosystem of also-rans trailing McDonald's (MCD), Burger King has long been the most prominent. This meant that falling behind Wendy's represented a fairly major shift in the industry.

Burger King, though, appears to have heard the ringing of the bell and began to make changes to climb back to the...almost top. The burger chain unveiled a new menu on Monday that is geared towards imitating industry-leader McDonald's and offering a healthier slate of options to the American consumer.

Healthier, More Diverse Menu

The new menu offered by Burger King includes the addition of chicken snack wraps, fancy coffee drinks, and real-fruit smoothies using low fat yogurt. All in all, the menu is geared to not just offer lower-calorie, lower-fat options, but to broaden the horizon of Burger King's offering beyond the traditional Whopper and fries.

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"Consumers wanted more choices," said Steve Wiborg, president of Burger King's North America operations. "Not just healthy choices, but choices they could get at the competition."

All told, the new menu represents the largest unveiling in the company's biggest in over 58 years in business. Burger King, though, needs to make changes to continue competing in an increasingly crowded fast food market. Burger King's failure to outsell Wendy's last month is embarrassing, especially when one considers that Burger King has far more locations, but both chains appear to be struggling as McDonald's pulls away.

"We were getting behind with the wraps and salads that were coming on the market," the incredibly ironically named Tom McDonald, who owns 19 Burger King franchises, told the Associated Press. "We had salads, but they weren't as good as the competition. We focused on burgers maybe longer than we should have."

Fresh New Menu, Fresh New Faces

Burger King is enlisting some serious star power in rolling out its new menu, hoping to grab attention and return to luster to its brand. Jay Leno, David Beckham, Mary J. Blige, and Steven Tyler have all been hired to help sell the new menu to the general public while Selma Hayek and Sofia Vergara have been enlisted to do Spanish-language commercials.

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