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Burger King Makes a Big Menu Change to Rival McDonald's, Wendy's

The fast-food chain has fallen into third place and it's making menu changes to catch up to McDonald's and Wendy's.

Burger King had a lead over McDonald's (MCD) - Get McDonald's Corporation Report for a long time. The chain released its trademark Whopper sandwich around a decade before its rival introduced the Big Mac. 

In addition, the Restaurant Brands International (QSR) - Get Restaurant Brands International Inc Report chain was a regular innovator long before McDonald's had expanded its menu beyond the Filet O' Fish. That kept the fast-food wars a two-way fight between the classic brands. In the burger world, McDonald's and Burger King were Coke vs. Pepsi, Red Sox vs. Yankees, or any other classic rivalry for the ages you can think of.

Wendy's (WEN) - Get Wendy's Company Report upset that party. That fast-food chain built around fresh, never frozen beef quietly worked its way to become the number two burger chain in the U.S. It may have started as R.C. Cola or the Toronto Blue Jays, but Wendy's worked its way into being a major player but for decades -- aside from a few failed efforts -- conceded breakfast to its two rivals.

That changed in 2020, right before the pandemic hit, when Wendy's entered the breakfast market to take on McDonald's. It built its new menu on offering fresher food than its rival and it quickly became a player in the morning. That did not actually happen at McDonald's expense -- both chains have grown their morning share -- but it did push Burger King into a less relevant position in the battle for morning customers.

Now, Burger King has been revitalizing its afternoon and evening menu by leaning on The Whopper and the chain has decided to take something that has worked with its famous burger and bring it to its morning menu.

Burger King Breakfast Lead JS

Burger King Tries a Morning Melt

Putting melted cheese on a burger that sits on toast rather than a bun isn't a completely new idea. The "melt" is a diner staple and anyone who has visited Friendly's (a chain that does still exist) has seen a variety of them on the menu.

Burger King added its own take on a melt to its menu in March. The chain added three variations of its Whopper Melt -- a new take on the classic sandwich that puts it on bread instead of a bun, adding some heat to melt the cheese. It comes in three varieties: the Whopper Melt, Spicy Whopper Melt, and Bacon Whopper Melt.

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Now, Burger King has brought that idea to breakfast with three Cheesy Breakfast Melts, Chewboom reported.

"Available in three varieties, Cheesy Breakfast Melts feature your choice of Sausage, Bacon, or Black Forest Ham, layered with two slices of American cheese and a fluffy folded egg on toasted round bread," the website reported. "Priced at $2.99 each, Cheesy Breakfast Melts will be officially available at participating BK locations nationwide as early as next week. You can also get exclusive early access via the BK app in some regions starting this week."

The breakfast melts appear to be served on the same toasted bread that the Whopper Melts use.

Can Burger King Get Its Breakfast Mojo Back?

At one point, Burger King was a breakfast innovator. The Croissan'wich, which used a croissant-like bun instead of an English Muffin like McDonald's uses may not seem overly novel now, but it was groundbreaking when it was introduced in 1978.

Since then, however, Burger King has struggled to innovate in the morning (sorry, French Toast Sticks). The chain has been working on improving its morning menu and gaining share for a few quarters. CEO Jose Cil talked about the opportunity in the morning during his company's third-quarter 2021 earnings call.

"We also view breakfast as one of the most incremental menu and daypart opportunities for the brand," he said.

Adding new breakfast sandwiches may not be super innovative but the Cheesy Breakfast Melts use ingredients (with the exception of the ham) that are already on the menu. They give the chain something new and perhaps can steal some of the attention back from McDonald's and Wendy's.