Hard Times for Hamburgers Hurt McDonald's More Than Burger King

Almost everyone in fast food is struggling to solve for the slow recovery and rising competition, but the pain hasn’t been spread evenly. Burger King has been having a better year than its much larger competitor, McDonald’s. New branding and marketing appear to be working in the land of the Whopper, and it seems more than ever as if the rival burger chains are building different menus and following divergent strategies.
 
The results indicate that Burger King is “making headway in competing with McDonald’s and other fast-food competitors,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at food industry researcher Technomic. He attributes Burger King’s results to “aggressive promotion, discounting”—behold the two-for-$5 sandwich deal—“and some price increase.”
 
First, a look at the numbers: Burger King reported a same-store sales increase in the U.S. and Canada of 3.6 percent in the third quarter. If you recall, comparable sales in the U.S. at McDonald’s decreased 3.3 percent.

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