BKC – Not Too Unlike its Competitors

BKC announced yesterday that it is adding menu items to its BK Value Menu. New items will include the Cheesy Bacon BK Wrapper and the Spicy Chicken BK Wrapper, which will be available for a suggested retail price of $1.39. Both items will also be offered as a Value Meal, which will include two wraps and will be priced at $3.99 for the Cheesy Bacon and $4.59 for the Spicy Chicken. BKC’s President of Global Strategy, Marketing and Innovation Russ Klein stated, “Unlike our competitors, Burger King Corp. is helping cash-strapped customers by adding to our BK(TM) Value Menu, not cutting back.” I found this statement kind of amusing because it seems like all of BKC’s QSR competitors have been adding more value items to their menus. And, they (BKC included) are doing so regardless of the impact on margins. Just last week, BKC reported that its 4Q08 U.S. and Canada restaurant margins (net of the reimaging program) declined 230 bps despite a 5.5% same-store sales lift.
  • NPD data point to a significant increase in the number of visits driven by deals within the QSR segment, particularly the hamburger segment (which includes BKC, MCD, WEN, etc), and based on recent menu introductions, we will continue to see the QSR segment chase less profitable traffic growth.
  • Other recently announced QSR promotions and added menu items at lower price points:

    Nation’s Restaurant News reported yesterday that 400 Wendy’s units in Florida will give away coupons for more than a million free Double Stack hamburgers on Labor Day. For reference, the Double Stack typically sells for $0.99 on the company’s value menu and is made with two hamburger patties, cheese, onions and pickles. At $0.99, this menu item is already cutting into margins, and now the company is giving them away for free!
  • Earlier this week, Jack in the Box introduced its Pita Snacks, a new product platform of snack-sized, wrap-style sandwiches, which will be offered at $1.99.