Updated from 1:42pm story on Apr. 19 with comments from McDonald's and photos.
Starting on April 25, the Golden Arches will serve Johnsonville Brats on the menu at 125 locations throughout southeast Wisconsin (pictured below). McDonald's and Johnsonville Brats first partnered on bringing brats to menus in Wisconsin back in 1998, but they haven't been featured in the region since 2009.
According to a McDonald's spokeswoman, brats are a limited-time offer lasting until
in Milwaukee. The brats are dressed with ketchup and mustard and served on a bratwurst bun. Calorie count: 440.
McDonald's decision to test out wieners comes after Burger King, which is part of Restaurant Brands International (QSR) - Get Report , launched grilled hot dogs at all 7,150 of its North America restaurants in late February. It marked the first time in the history of the 62-year old burger giant that it has sold hot dogs on a national basis.
So far, Burger King has found success with hot dogs.
"I think there has been an overwhelming response [to the grilled dogs]," said Dan Accordino, chairman, president and CEO of Carrols Restaurant Group (TAST) - Get Report on a March 3 earnings call. Carrols is the largest operator of Burger King restaurants in the U.S. "We are selling between 80 and 120 grilled hot dogs per store per day with no advertising yet," Accordino added.
In moving to offer hot dogs, Burger King and McDonald's are entering a very competitive market.
According to the latest data from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, nearly 1 billion packages of hot dogs were sold at U.S. retail stores in 2014, fueling the meals of people that prefer to eat at home instead of at a fast food joint. Retail sales of hot dogs in the U.S. reached $2.6 billion for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2015, representing a 0.1% drop year over year, according to data from Nielsen.
And within the fast food business, Sonic (SONC) is the undisputed hot dog king. In a June 12 interview with TheStreet, Sonic CEO Clifford Hudson mentioned that every one out of seven hot dogs served outside of the home in the U.S. is sold from Sonic. According to a company spokeswoman, Sonic sold a whopping 151.8 million hot dogs in 2015, representing 10% growth from the previous year.
Sonic sells 12 different types of hot dogs. They run as simple as a classic hot dog with ketchup, yellow mustard, relish and chopped onions (similar to Burger King's classic) to the fancier cheese and bacon hot dog wrapped in a pretzel bun. The company also hawks mini hot dogs known as "lil doggies" and foot-long hot dogs.
Nathan's (NATH) - Get Report has a sizable presence in the hot dog business, too. The company sold more than 500 million hot dogs in 2014 at supermarkets and at more than 230 of its own U.S. restaurants.