Burger King this week will announce new summer menu LTOs that include the returns of the Carolina BBQ Whopper/Chicken and Memphis Pulled Pork sandwiches. But there will be one audacious difference: The menu includes a boneless BK Rib Sandwich that can be seen as an answer to rival McDonald’s popular McRib.
McRib first appeared on the McDonald’s menu as a limited-time offer in 1981. It was offered in the U.S. back in December. Since its creation, it has reappeared irregularly while building a very loyal fan base (see @McRibWatch on Twitter) that clamors for it to be offered permanently. Its popularity is global. McDonald’s stores in Austria last year introduced a deep-fried-patty version called McRibster. And Australian consumers cheered when the Atlanta Pork McRib arrived there last summer as part of a special Summer Olympics menu.
During those 32 years, no other QSR has developed a serious competitor for McRib. In May 2010, Burger King rolled out Fire-Grilled Ribs, bone-in ribs with barbecue sauce. Despite a steep price–an 8-piece meal was $9 or more in some markets–the product sold well, according to the chain. It has not been repeated, however. But Burger King, with its open-flame grills, is well positioned to create a boneless BBQ rib product that could give McRib some competition. Details of Burger King’s summer menu will be released later this week.