Burger King Menu Adds a Side Dish McDonald’s Can’t Copy

McDonald’s dominates the french fry game. The fast-food giant has been meticulous in its efforts to make sure it delivers the exact same fry experience no matter where in the world you order them.

That’s a fairly Herculean effort given the size of the chain, but McDonald’s (MCD) – Get Free Report has put in the supply chain work to make sure its locations all around the world have the exact same potatoes. Those potatoes are then fried exactly the same way in Paris, France as they are in Paris, Texas.

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It’s an impressive feat that has been rewarded with customer loyalty. Few fast food fans argue that Restaurant Brands International’s (QSR) – Get Free Report Burger King or Wendy’s (WEN) – Get Free Report offers better fries. Both of those chains have tried to reformulate their fries and Wendy’s recent effort to do that even took shots at McDonald’s.

The problem is that while many items on the McDonald’s menu have room for improvement, that’s not true with its fries. Wendy’s even paid for billboards that read “hot and crispy fries don’t arch, just sayin'” alongside a picture of a folded fry that looks like the McDonald’s logo.

That’s a good effort, but Wendy’s picked the wrong target and was savaged on social media by people who simply recognized that McDonald’s has fries that people really love. Burger King has tried multiple fry formulas as well, including its poorly received lower-calorie “Satisfries.”

The rival chain, however, does have one side dish edge over McDonald’s. It offers onion rings, something you’d think every fast food burger chain would have on its menu that neither Wendy’s nor McDonald’s offers.

Now, for a limited time, Burger King is leaning on that advantage to offer a new side dish that McDonald’s can’t match.

Burger King has tried multiple versions of its french fries.

Image source: Burger King

Burger King Adds Fries ‘n Rings

Mixing french fries and onion rings makes sense, but to do it at most Burger King locations, you need to order one of each and do the mixing yourself. Now, the chain is “testing a new side option with the debut of new Fries n’ Rings at select test locations in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida starting June 19, 2023,” according to ChewBoom.

The test will run until July 20. Burger King specifically markets its onion rings as an alternative to the classic french fry.

“There’s more to sides than fries. Just ask fans of our famous Onion Rings, bursting with refreshing onion goodness inside! Perfect snack on its own or with a meal,” the company shared on its website.

A medium order of Burger King french fries has almost the exact same calories (370) as a medium order of its Onion Rings (360). An order of its Chicken Fries, which are essentially chicken fingers vaguely like french fries, actually comes in at only 260 calories.  

The chain also offers a four-piece order of mozzarella sticks (286 calories) and Mott’s Apple Sauce (50 calories) as side options. 

Burger King Looks to Reclaim Second Place

While people generally think of Burger King as McDonald’s biggest rival, Wendy’s has actually become the number two burger chain in the U.S. Burger King is working to reclaim its traditional spot and has had some solid results.

The chain saw its comparable-store sales grow by 8.7% year-over-year in the first quarter.

“Our top-line performance this quarter was driven by communication of Burger King’s most important equity, the Whopper. Compelling value initiatives, including the $5 your way meal, over 30% growth in digital sales, and benefits from strategic pricing. While traffic was modestly negative this quarter, we did see improved year-over-year traffic trends from Q4 into Q1,” Restaurant Brands International CEO Josh Kobza said during the Q1 earnings call.

The chain has committed to spend $150 million over two years to advertise its stores.

“The team has also been applying improvements to creative messaging and ad testing that have helped further amplify our share of voice and resonate with guests, which is clearly translating into top-line momentum,” Kobza added. 

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