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After the Whopper: Burger King May Solve Its Biggest Menu Problem

The chain has lagged behind McDonald's and Wendy's in one key area.

Burger King once led the fast-food wars. The chain actually pioneered menu innovation and introduced its famed Whopper about a decade before McDonald's (MCD) - Get Free Report introduced the Big Mac.

The Home of the Whopper has also been the home of a pretty decent breakfast, at least if you like the Croissan'wich (and who doesn't like a breakfast sandwich served on a variation of a croissant). You could say that Burger King has breakfast, lunch, and dinner down. There may be room for improvement (the fries and hash browns could use a little love) but mostly, Burger King has credible options for the three meals.

 When it comes to dessert, however, Burger King comes up blank.

While McDonald's has the McFlurry and classic vanilla cones and Wendy's  (WEN) - Get Free Report has its Frosty, dessert is not something that Burger King is particularly known for.  (Quick name a dessert item on the Burger King menu....We'll wait.)

Even though everything from shakes to cookies and chocolate pie periodically hit the Restaurant Brands International  (QSR) - Get Free Report-owned chain's menu, most fail to stick around and certainly do not become an icon.

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Is Burger King Working On A Big Dessert?

Could this long stretch of dessert mediocrity change? While no new menu additions in the U.S. have been announced, it might be helpful to turn to what Burger King does in other countries. 

In India, the fast-food chain offers a chocolate mousse cup and a chocolate lava cup on its dessert menu.

International menus of iconic fast-food chains are often a good way to spot deficiencies back home. While McDonald's only started testing the McPlant in select locations, McDonald's India had nearly a dozen vegetarian options like the McAloo Tikki and the McPaneer Wrap.

Burger King Thailand, in turn, has a taro root pie while locations in France have everything from a beignet trio to M&Ms and Snickers sundaes on their menus.

 Over the years, international Burger King locations have also had a number of crazy limited-edition desserts, from the Kiwi Crunch Sundae in New Zealand to the chocolate-filled ice cream cone in Mexico and the Unicorn Shake (berry-flavored ice cream with upside-down ice cream to mimic a horn) in Spain and Portugal.

Why Do Fast Food Desserts Even Matter?

While the argument can be made that dessert is of secondary importance to a fast food specializing in burgers and other savory items, the customer demand is clearly there. 

The saga of the frequently-broken McFlurry machine continues to elicit outrage from McDonald's goers. Desserts like the Apple Pie and spring favorite Shamrock Shake also have a very loyal and hungry fanbase.

The base of dessert-hungry buyers is clearly there but, in large part due to difficulties with the McFlurry machines, consumption of the beloved ice cream dessert fell by almost 26% year-over-year.

While many of these flavors are too tied to local product availability and taste buds, an original dessert from above would certainly set Burger King apart from its competitors and carve out some of those customers for itself. 

When one fast-food chain fails to offer a product, another has room to step in and fill the void.