Once they find a winning formula that customers react positively to, most fast food brands tend to stick with it.
For McDonald's (MCD) , that's meant classic burgers like the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, which have been around since the '60s and '70s respectively.
Restaurant Brand International's (QSR) Burger King also captured customer interest with its Whopper when it launched in 1957, which is also the product it's best known for today. McDonald's burgers were still fairly small back in the '50s, and Burger King chose to take the angle of making a bigger burger to appeal to those with larger appetites. Clearly, it worked.
While McDonald's tends to rely on keeping its classic burgers the same to appeal to the customer who likes the tried and true comfort meal, Burger King has taken a much more adventurous approach with the Whopper by making as many variants of it as possible.
But rather than place all its bets on one hit, Burger King also focuses on building new products as well. And now, it's found some success with a new burger series popular enough to merit multiple versions within the same year.
What's Burger King's Newest Sandwich?
The Burger doing so well for the King is called Big Mouth, and while it may not be vastly different from the Whopper except for, well, more meat, it's clearly doing well enough for the chain to continue to make new iterations.
The most recent in the Big Mouth series are a BBQ and onion ring version, which has (surprise) golden-fried onion rings and Bullseye BBQ sauce atop two flame-grilled patties, two slices of American cheese, and pickles, and a chicken version, which trades out the onion rings for a fried chicken patty.
These burgers launched on August 12 at Burger King Japan locations and will be sold through September 1. Both burgers will be sold for 1230 yen ($9.06 U.S.) on their own or 1530 yen ($11.27) in a combo with fries and a drink, making this one of the priciest burgers on Burger King's menu.
Originally debuted in 2021, the Big Mouth series first came in Cheese and Spicy varieties. A Hash & Chile and Cheese & Cheese variety followed in March 2022, and then a Bacon Booster in April topped with a horrifying eight slices of bacon came in April (you'll want to keep it a secret from your doctor if you chose to order that one).
The onion ring and chicken fried versions are the fourth in the series, making it clear that this sandwich has become quite popular with the Japanese market.
Chief executive officer Jose Cil highlighted the strength of the international market in Restaurant Brand Internationals' Q2 earnings call held on August 4.
"Guests in markets like France, Spain, Germany, the UK and Switzerland ranked Burger King in their top three preferences," he said. "On top of that, our guests in France, Germany, UK and Italy consider Burger King as their top QSR preference."
Cil also said that Burger King's international business was up 18% from 2021.
"We attribute the strong brand affinity we’ve established to the hard work our teams and our franchisees have done to deliver a memorable and enjoyable guest experience," he said.