Burger King customers have been heard.
The Miami-based chain is bringing back chicken fries, the breaded and fried chicken strips served in a fry-style box, after consumers took to social media to request the item. Customers complained on Facebook and Twitter when they were taken off the menu in 2012.
“We underestimated the cult following that the product had,” Alex Macedo, president of North America for the company, said in a phone interview. “There’s a big opportunity for us to bring it back.”
Burger King Worldwide Inc. has been trying to boost sales by introducing new products as fast-food competition intensifies. Its rivals also are revamping their menus. McDonald’s Corp. recently began selling a $2 jalapeno double burger, while Wendy’s Co. brought back pretzel buns in June.
Burger King first sold chicken fries in 2005. In the product’s revival, it will be offered for about 12 weeks, or while supplies last. A pack of nine pieces is $2.89 and has 290 calories.
Burger King’s stock has been outperforming competitors, gaining 15 percent this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Restaurants Index lost 1.3 percent in that time. Today, the shares rose 0.9 percent to $26.33 at the close in New York.
Burger King has reason to promote chicken items over hamburgers: Shrinking cattle supply has spurred a run-up in beef prices this year.
As of July 1, cattle inventories have fallen to their lowest level for the date since records began in 1973, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retail ground beef costs rose to all-time highs in June, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.
Burger King is always monitoring commodity costs and trying to maximize profit for franchisees, Macedo said.
“There’s a big opportunity for chicken,” he said. “It’s going to be an ever-growing part of our menu.”
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