Burger King parent Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR) is giving diners a new way to walk away with orange-dusted fingers. Three months after rolling out Mac 'n Cheetos, the burger chain is giving Cheetos-coated Chicken Fries a shot for a limited time.
Cheetos Chicken Fingers rolled out to participating restaurants last week. Restaurant Brands International and PepsiCo's (NASDAQ:PEP) Frito-Lay are teaming up again, this time giving Burger King's fry-shaped chicken tenders -- an item that has been on and off of the menu since 2005 -- a new look with a Cheetos-flavored outer shell.
This is a peculiar corporate pairing. PepsiCo's Frito-Lay is the company behind Cheetos, but it's also naturally the company behind its namesake Pepsi beverages. Burger King's fountain-pouring rights belong to PepsiCo's larger rival. However, Frito-Lay has proven that its salty snacks can be intoxicating in fast food. Taco Bell married Frito-Lay's Doritos with its own tacos to creates Doritos Locos Tacos, one of the most popular product rollouts in the chain's industry. However, Taco Bell does serve Pepsi beverages, and the chain even used to be owned by PepsiCo at one time.
Cheesy summer at BK
It's been a summer of Frankenfood for Restuarant Brands International's Burger King. Things kicked off with Mac n' Cheetos, Cheetos-flavored puffs stuffed with macaroni and cheese. Last month, we had Whopperito, a burrito decked out with Whopper toppings. Queso replaces the slices of cheese.
Last Wednesday's debut of Cheetos Chicken Fries makes this the third time that Burger King has introduced a head-turning product for a limited time.
Perpetual rollouts of unusual products appear to be working. Comps rose a mere 0.6% for Burger King in its latest quarter, but that was on top of a 6.7% spike the year before. With so many eateries posting negative comparable-restaurant sales these days as we wade our way through what some are calling a "restaurant recession" as folks don't eat out as often as they used to, Burger King's coming off as a relative winner here.
We can't dismiss Cheetos Chicken Fries as a mere novelty. Burger King is stringing enough of these offbeat items to keep curious customers coming back for more. This is working for Restaurant Brands International. PepsiCo also comes out as a winner, likely attracting chains beyond Taco Bell and Burger King to team up with a Frito-Lay brand. You may not be going out of your way for an order of Cheetos Chicken Fries, but there will probably be more than enough millennials giving it a shot to make it work.