Burger King debuted Monday its biggest menu expansion in the chain’s 58-year history, with new items that are already familiar in the quick-service world but that Burger King hopes to position as “best in class.”
About 10 new items have been added to the menu at Burger King’s 7,200 locations across the country, including new premium Garden Fresh salads, snack wrap sandwiches, fruit smoothies, chicken strips and frappe drinks.
Critics have noted that McDonald’s and other chains have offered such items for some time, but Steve Wiborg, executive vice president of Burger King Corp. and president of the North America division, told Nation’s Restaurant News that the new menu items were a response to consumer demand, not to competitors.
“Consumers told us two things. They told us they love the great taste of our food, and they have loved it since 1954. They expect whatever we do to be best in class, and that included outside the realm of burgers,” Wiborg said. “The second thing is they wanted more choices, like they could get at our competition — whether that was Starbucks or McDonald’s or anybody else — and those had to be best in class.”
Wiborg said Burger King’s new additions stand out from the crowd because they are freshly made. The new smoothies, including the options of mango or strawberry-banana, are hand-blended to order and include a serving of fruit blended with juice and low-fat yogurt.
The new salads, which include a BLT variety, as well as Apple and Cranberry, and a classic Caesar, are also made to order, he said.
“The salads are not coming from the outside,” Wiborg said. “They’re not being taken out of a cooler and handed to guests. We’re actually preparing them, and that’s what our guests told us they wanted. They wanted best-in-class ingredients.”
The new menu items range in price from $1.59 for the snack wraps, which Wiborg said was slightly less than prices offered by competitors for a similar product, to $4.99 for the new salads.
“I think our guests are getting a premium product for a very fair price, and it doesn’t go against our menu offerings currently,” he said.
Burger King’s new menu items include:
• Three Garden Fresh salads: BLT, Apple and Cranberry and Caesar, each available with the topping choice of Tendercrisp or Tendergrill chicken. Suggested prices start at $4.99.
• Chicken Snack Wraps in two flavors: Honey Mustard Crispy Chicken and Ranch Crispy Chicken. Both have fewer than 400 calories and the suggested price is $1.59.
• Real Fruit Smoothies in two flavors: Tropical Mango and Strawberry Banana. Suggested price: $2.29.
• Frappes in Mocha and Caramel flavors, made to order with whipped topping and a swirl of fudge or caramel sauce. Suggested price: $2.29.
• Crispy Chicken Strips: Made with white-meat tenderloin chicken, marinated and lightly battered and fried. Served in three- or five-piece servings with new sauces, including Kung Pao and Roasted Jalapeno Barbecue. Prices start at $2.99.