Move over, doughnut buns—here come the pretzels. On Monday, Wendy’s started rolling out its premium Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, declaring it “the most anticipated new product in recent history.” Now Sonic Drive-In wants a piece of the pretzel spotlight, too. On July 1, the chain will launch two limited-time pretzel dogs, traditional hot dogs but served on soft pretzel buns. Customers have the choice of lathering them with mustard or with bacon and warm melted cheese sauce.
“We project sales of 15 to 25 pretzel dogs per drive-in, per day,” says Sonic spokesman Patrick Lenow. “These are highly incremental, with minimal cannibalization to the hot dog category.” They will be available only through Aug. 11.
Wendy’s and Sonic are turning to pretzel buns as a way to add more premium items to their menus. ”Consumers are looking for bold flavors, new tastes, and value,” says James O’Reilly, chief marketing officer at Sonic, in an e-mail. “For most, the idea of a soft, warm pretzel taste in a bun is a new idea, and it complements the beef very well. A pretzel bun screams gourmet, so the value score is very high with customers.”
Sonic’s new dog hasn’t enjoyed several months of online anticipation like Wendy’s pretzel burger, but customers who’ve tasted it ahead of the official launch seem enthusiastic.