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Burger King's New Whopper Isn't Technically a Whopper at all

The fast-food giant has another new sandwich as it looks to take the fight to McDonald's and Wendy's.

McDonald's (MCD) - Get Free Report rarely leverages the name of the Big Mac, its most iconic sandwich, to launch a new product. It has introduced variations on the classic based on size, as well as a chicken version, but the chain has held off on the Halloween Mac or the Christmas Mac (which would be made with reindeer patties).

Wendy's (WEN) - Get Free Report has no similar iconic sandwich to leverage. Yes, it has added a Breakfast Baconator to complement its regular Baconator, but the Baconator is hardly the Big Mac.

Restaurant Brands International's (QSR) - Get Free Report Burger King  has no such qualms when it comes to its iconic Whopper. The company liberally tacks the Whopper name onto new sandwiches to get attention for both the chain and the new product offering.

That has led to a list of Whoppers that includes (but is not limited to) the Texas Whopper, Indy Whopper, California Whopper, Halloween Whopper, Angriest Whopper, Whopperito, Upside-Down Whopper, Ghost Whopper, and last (and probably least), the Impossible Whopper. 

Burger King understands that a new Whopper gets people's attention. They understand the core brand, so any changes are basically easy to digest (jn a mental sense, not always a physical one).

That makes it curios that the chain's new sandwich uses a Whopper patty, but it's not actually being given that legendary name.

Burger King Whopper Lead JS

Burger King Tries a Different Take on a Whopper

Burger King's latest sandwich, which has been added to its menu in Canada, has been dubbed the "Zesty Horseradish King." It's a fairly familiar take on a burger, albeit with the unconventional addition of horseradish sauce.

"The Zesty Horseradish King includes a flame-grilled Whopper patty topped with melty cheese, bacon, onion rings, and zesty horseradish sauce on a classic bun. You can also enjoy as a double with two beef patties, Chew Boom reported.

And, while Burger King has focused on its deals and value menu in recent months, its latest menu addition won't be a bargain.

"While prices may vary by location, the Zesty Horseradish King carries a suggested price of $9.19 Canadian dollars a la carte, or about $6.87 U.S. dollars," the website added.

Burger King Is Under Pressure

Adding a pricey new sandwich is an interesting choice at a time when Restaurant Brands International CEO Jose Cil said that franchisees have been very worried about macroeconomic pressures.

"Our franchisees are feeling the pressure. Our guests are also feeling the pressure. And every conversation I've had with franchisees here in the U.S. and Canada and also in Europe and other international markets, quickly turns to the volatility and a tremendous pressure that they and we all are feeling in our restaurant level margins and then, what are the steps we are taking to address it," he said during the chain's third-quarter earnings call.

Cil said that the Burger King team has been working to address those concerns.

"Some of the measures to offset these cost increases include continuing to use our scale and buying power to smooth out the choppiness of commodity increases that we are seeing in domestic markets as well as international pricing, but doing it strategically and understanding obviously the elasticity of demand and making sure that pricing flows through at the highest possible levels," he said.

The company is also "looking at many architecture and managing mix to ease pressures on margins and we have examples of that including what we did with Burger King earlier in the year on removing the Whopper from the 2 for $6 platform and having -- seeing increases in margins, while still communicating that's an important value platform," he added.