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Is Burger King Taking Back Its Crown?


In a move that says, "King me," Burger King Worldwide (NYSE: BKW  ) added the Big King sandwich as a direct attack on the Big Mac from McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) . But it didn't stop there. Now, according to an article in USA Today, Burger King has taken this move a step further and is prepared to start bragging about it.

Size matters
It sounds like the launch of the Big King is going well. Speaking from experience, after skeptically sampling the new sandwich, I did find myself impulsively stopping by two more times since. I wouldn't have done so if not for the Big King sandwich. Much to my delight, Burger King is increasing the beef in its sandwich to 25% bigger than the Big Mac and not charging an extra dime for it.

McDonald's must be furious. At the time of this writing, its just-released January same-store sales tumbled by 3.3%. The larger rival has been complaining of "competitive challenges" for months, so this must be the last thing it needs. And Burger King hints at more surprises aimed at it.

Burger King has been test marketing the beefier sandwich at 200 locations in South Florida. The result? A 10% jump in guest satisfaction scores. Now the company plans to launch the beefier Big King across the nation.

To add insult to McDonald's injury, Burger King is now playing commercials rubbing it into McDonald's wounds. The commercial says, "At Burger King, we know that size matters. That's why the Big King just got bigger. Now with a quarter pound of beef, freshly fire grilled; pick any two sandwiches for just $5 including the new spicy chicken and the new Big King sandwich."

The spicy chicken sandwich is of course a jab on McDonald's Spicy McChicken sandwich.

More BK surprises
Bigger beef appears to be just the start. Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America, said that the company plans to expand the Big King platform. This implies additional variations of the royal sandwich may be on the way. He wouldn't reveal what other then to say that the company is doing extensive testing. Apparently the sales must be going well. Companies don't normally plan food extensions unless the original is doing well. You don't see McDonald's talking about new flavors of its Mighty Wings, do you?

So far McDonald's hasn't had much of a response to the assault on its Big Mac, and it appears to just be taking it. It seems like it hasn't changed anything about its Big Mac in ages...if ever. USA Today does mention a promotion that allows guests to buy one Big Mac and get a second one for $0.01 as the one thing it has done.

Foolish final thoughts
The Big Mac is considered the most successful burger in history, and it will be tough if not downright impossible to topple. However, with McDonald's having more than 10 times the market cap as Burger King, the smaller burger chain doesn't need to be No. 1 in order to see material gains for itself at the expense of McDonald's.

If Burger King can convert just a relatively few number of Big Mac fans over to its side, it could have a materially positive effect for Burger King's top and bottom line while causing an already weakening U.S. McDonald's to slip backwards a bit further. Foolish investors of either stock should pay close attention to the Big King story.

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Read/Post Comments (13) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:22 AM, connievaughn wrote:

    Im trying to remember when mcsucks burgers were even better? I live in WTBY CT.1 BK and 4 mcsucks that sucks???

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 7:29 AM, thedawg60 wrote:

    BK is the only fast food worth eating.Besides they got onion rings.Chicken good. Lets just hope they can come with surprises to knock,Slime Burger off there Arch.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 8:07 AM, kca124cain wrote:

    White Castle! Mmmm

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 8:08 AM, kca124cain wrote:

    In 1979 McD's was test marketing what is now known as Chicken McNuggets. They were test marketed in St. Louis as Chicken McNuts.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 8:19 AM, jmooremcc wrote:

    I recently told McDonald's managers I stopped buying the Big Mac because the meat is too small & paper thin. In fact, I told them that I refer to their sandwich as a "Mini Mac"because the meat's so small.

    I've tried Burger King's Big King several times and find it superior to the BigMac.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 11:32 AM, Afterberth wrote:

    I tried the Burger King version a few months back and my only complaint was it seemed like It was more bun than meat. I will definitely give them a second shot with the bigger patties because it tasted much better than the BM.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 11:34 AM, david1588 wrote:

    Maybe everyone here should just consider having a nice salad.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 12:11 PM, emp9 wrote:

    lol at called the bigmac BM, and if you think the Big king has little meat then what do you call the big mac then? personally like wendys burgers better of the fast food.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 1:40 PM, Dorothy47 wrote:

    I think that Mc Donalds is quite jealouse that Burger King is better because we flame broiled instead of frying. we are not trying to compete against them but try to see what our customers think of

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 9:22 PM, RobertB420 wrote:

    If my fast-food choices were limited to Mickey

    D's and BK, I know who would come in

    second...sorry, Ronald...but otherwise,

    I pick Culver's as the best-tasting burger

    (etc.) chain...they're doing something right

    in Wisconsin.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 8:39 AM, DirtyDrone wrote:

    Both burgers suck, Burger King has come out with bacon in the burger , would like too try.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 1:29 PM, Dante47 wrote:

    McTiculous has long since relied on its quantity rather than its quality. They have tried to cover every genre of the fast food industry. They continue to add menu items you wouldn't expect to find at a burger joint. I think people choose

    BK for the simple fact they are not full of themselves like the arch. A company that boasts of multi billion dollar quarterly earnings should pass some of that down to their workers who live paycheck to paycheck and sadly most often have 1 or 2 other part time jobs just to get up to the poverty line.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 3:20 PM, Harrispam61 wrote:

    Bottom line: Arches BM patties are too small. There would be nothing to bite had it no extra bun. It would also not have any taste had it no special sauce. If it sold for .99 or even $1.50 if might could make it; but $3.?? for that is outrageous. I'm disappointed in McDs. They stop caring about the customers. Trying to please everybody. If you're gonna specialize in burgers, fries, and shakes then do it and do it right. Oatmeal and brown apple slices doesn't do it for me. I get that at home.

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Nickey Friedman

Nickey is a select freelancer for the Fool. She writes about food & beverage, dry bulk shipping, and whatever else floats her boat. After selling four successful restaurants, she turned in her knives for a pen and now puts her passion for food, hospitality, and transportation in writing. You can send email to her at

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