Burger King just introduced its new chicken parmesan sandwich, and TheStreet tried it for the lunch.
The seasoned 100% white meat chicken sandwich, which is available for a limited time, uses the same patties as the company's New Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which made its debut at the Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR - Get Report) restaurant chain earlier this year. The move follows introductions of sandwiches that use 100% chicken and beef at other fast-food restaurants such as McDonald's Corp. (MCD - Get Report) to attract millennials.
"We know our guests love bold Italian flavors," Alex Macedo, Burger King's North America president, said in a statement. "Now guests can enjoy a tasty chicken sandwich with the great flavor and juiciness of our Crispy Chicken Sandwich paired with classic ingredients, including shaved parmesan, melted mozzarella and rich marinara sauce."
The company also united the stars of the hit reality TV show on MTV's Jersey Shore, which ended in 2012, to promote the sandwich in a video ad. Although the group has been quiet in recent years, a reunion show is set for August that will feature the stars and where they are now.
Burger King's sandwich also comes after Restaurant Brands, which also includes Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Tim Hortons, announced in June that it would end the use of antibiotics important to human medicine in their chicken supply by the end of 2018.
Restaurant Brands' shares fell 0.7% to $61.14 early Monday afternoon.
Here was my experience eating the new chicken parmesan sandwich.
Editors' pick: Originally published July 14.
The last time I entered a Burger King was more than 10 years ago, when I was in fourth grade. I ordered chicken nuggets, but I cannot remember anything about it.
The Burger King at 106 Liberty St. in the Financial District of New York City's Manhattan looked inviting on the corner with plenty of windows. That "INTERNET" sign way up at the top, though, did appear a little odd.
That's where you'll find the beer, apparently. The burger chain introduced the alcoholic beverages in its New York City locations in May.
Window advertisements also announced that by showing a work ID, local employees and merchants can get a 15% discount on their meal. You would think that would attract plenty of patrons, especially being in a business-heavy area.
But the place was actually fairly calm. The line was short, and I had my food in hand in less than three minutes. When I did order the chicken parm sandwich, however, the cashier looked at me a little confused at first before looking at the menu behind her to see the new offering listed.
Burger King recommended pricing the sandwich at $4.99, which is in line with McDonald's $4.99 to $5.19 100% chicken and beef chicken in its Signature Crafted Recipes line.
I was in New York, however, so the cost was more. The 570-calorie sandwich I ordered was $6.59. The sandwich was above the $5.49 Big Mac that TheStreet recently ordered from McDonald's, but it was below Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.'s (CMG - Get Report) $8.65 chicken burrito bowl. Making the chicken parm a combo with a drink and fries, though, would put it at a pricey $9.59.
Also, the receipt spells its Whopper "sandwhich" incorrectly.
Although this location did not have the shiny wooden floors and swanky leather furniture at the new Burger King restaurant that TheStreet recently visited in Islip, New York, when I headed upstairs to eat, I noticed the place had an updated urban feel. There were dark tile floors, vehicle license plates as decorations on the wall and camouflage-patterned bar stools. There were several young professionals eating but quite a few families, as well.
This location also did not have just the typical fast-food service. Although the main floor let patrons walk up to the counter, order and get their food there, customers could go immediately to the upper floors, be assigned a seat from a host and order from a waiter, who would still bring the food to them in a paper bag.
No sign, however, pointed patrons in that direction to get that service, not that I had the best experience with it.
Although I ordered my food at the counter, when I ascended to find a seat, the host simply said to me, "You can go to the second floor."
Typically a host or waiter will walk restaurant guests to their table. So while this Burger King appeared to make its dining experience classier, it seemed the execution was lacking.
The description of the sandwich said there was melted mozzarella, check, but also shredded parmesan, which appeared to be lacking.
Typically when I have had chicken parm in the past, it used a baked chicken breast, but Burger King switched it up and used fried chicken. That breading, however, appeared darker than what I typically find on my crispy chicken sandwiches.
I found a thin spread of marinara sauce on the bottom of the sandwich, not something I would call rich. On the bright side, the sandwich was still warm.
But, let's dig in.
On my first bite of chicken, I tasted a whole lot of chicken. The sandwich has a nice thick patty, but the meat tasted a tad dry. Perhaps it would be juicier if there was more sauce.
I got a better taste of the other ingredients on my second taste, and they all complimented each other well. The saltiness of the chicken was a delicious contrast to the sweet marinara sauce and burger bun. The cheese also added a creaminess to the rough texture, as well.
We could have used more sauce.
All in all, not bad. It needs more sauce, and perhaps less salt. We left full.