MIAMI – Call it the crinkle-cut crowning achievement of Burger King Worldwide’s third quarter.
The September launch of Satisfries, better-for-you french fries with less fat and fewer calories than the competitor’s product, was considered a “major milestone” for the fast-food chain, the company said.
“First, french fry sales have been declining across the industry for years,” said Alex Macedo, president of the North America region for Burger King Worldwide, during an Oct. 28 call with analysts to discuss third-quarter earnings. “Many have tried reinventing the recipe, but this is the first of its kind better-for-you french fry option in the market. It demonstrates Burger King is leading the industry in innovation by giving guests exactly what they want, a great-tasting, better-for-you alternative.”
The skinnier spuds boosted traffic and average check, plus add-on purchases during the last week of the month, according to the company.
“We are actually seeing the fries not only drive traffic, but we're seeing that when they come into buy the fries, they buy additional items,” Mr. Macedo said. “They buy sodas, they buy other sandwiches, which brings in additional higher checks. Right? Now, it's really – for us to be able to manage Satisfries, and for our long-term platform, and eventually we're going to let the consumer decide for how long and at what level Satisfries are going to stay on our menu. But what I can say right now is that we're right in line with our expectations, when we put out the product.”
The introduction underpins Burger King’s new less-is-more approach to innovation with “fewer and more impactful launches.”
“We've been working so much with the franchisees, and really getting a better feel for the business in this competitive moment, that we feel very strongly, that to be able to have success in this competitive environment, it's important to focus on the few right things,” Mr. Macedo said. “When you focus on the few right things, you guarantee that execution we have at the restaurant level, they work well. You guarantee that the profitability for the franchisee is good, and finally, you guarantee that you can have a good marketing push on T.V. to make it relevant – Exactly what we did with Satisfries. Everyone in the country knew that we were launching Satisfries, and the same thing we want to do moving forward, with a few additional launches that we have planned for the end of the year.”
Also during the quarter, Burger King rolled out the French Fry Burger, Premium Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, Angry Whopper sandwich and Premium Buffalo Chicken Strips, which the company said are easy to prepare from an operational standpoint.
“I think that right now, we are very comfortable with our balance,” Mr. Macedo said. “I think we have an efficient multi-tiered value approach. And we have a pipeline of fewer and more impactful launches, for which we can really put the appropriate investment behind to drive the sales and get consumers into our doors. So this is really what you're going to see over the next several months.”