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) --

Burger King, days after dethroning its royal mascot

, adds smoothies, new salads and oatmeal to its menu in an effort to better compete with


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and others.

Burger King hopes its expanded "healthier" menu will help draw a broader customer base that includes women and families, rather than its traditional demographic base of teen males. It is the latest food chain, following McDonald's, Starbucks,

Dunkin' Donuts

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and even

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Krispy Kreme


, to ramp up alternative menu offerings to attract new clients, keep families coming back, and keep up with a growing trend toward healthfulness.

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Burger King will begin offering oatmeal across the U.S. this week, with smoothies and new salads currently being tested in 100 stores, changes that some customers may not stomach well, said Joel Cohen, president of Cohen Restaurant Marketing Group.

"It's a dramatic switch, so you're in danger of losing loyal customers who loved the original brand," Cohen told


. By comparison, McDonald's shift toward upscale cafes was "gradual and not as intrusive as the Burger King change."

>> Burger King Dethrones The King, Crowns New Ads

Burger King North America President Steve Wiborg insisted the company is "known as the best place for burgers; we're going to continue that ... but we also need to broaden our target."

McDonald's began offering salads years ago. It also famously added oatmeal to its breakfast menu recently as well, and

cut the fries portion by more than half and added apple slices to its iconic Happy Meals

. Starbucks also offers hot oatmeal, with options to add brown sugar, dried fruit and a nut medley. Krispy Kreme recently added oatmeal, yogurt and fruit juice to its menu. Dunkin' has long offered bagels, sandwiches, wraps and muffins, hoping to bring diners in not just for their morning coffee-and-a-donut fix but for lunch as well.

>> Sonic, Burger King Try Booze to Boost Sales

A new menu isn't the only major change at

Burger King, just under a year after it was taken private by 3G Capital for $4 billion

. 3G has been working to revitalize the chain after years of declining market share and sluggish revenue. In the first quarter of this year, Burger King saw same-store sales -- or sales at stores open at least one year, a closely watched metric in the restaurant industry -- decrease 6%. In the three months ended June 30, total sales fell 4.3% to $596 million and Burger King's profit dropped 13% to $42.8 million.

>> Krispy Kreme Glazes Menu With Healthy Options

Last week

, Burger King announced a new advertising campaign (and ad agency) that would not include the King character

, who viewed by many as creepy, and alienating to moms and kids.


Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York


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