Social media says Burger King's latest fast-food mashup known as the Whopperrito is a letdown, which may cause optimistic investors a bout of indigestion later on.
Since launching nationwide on Aug. 15, people have taken to Instagram (posts below) to voice their displeasure about the $2.99 limited-time offering, which takes the ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles from the chain's signature Whopper burger and wraps it in a flour tortilla. The complaints have ranged from the taste of the Whopperrito not living up to the hype, to it being an inferior burrito relative to those from Yum! Brands' (YUM - Get Report) Taco bell chain, to their not being enough beef wrapped inside the extra large tortilla.
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#Whopperito review: Liked the concept and gimmick level of a burger burrito, but found the end product ultimately lacking in density. The burger-seasoned/charbroil-flavored beef was a nice departure from the beefy offerings of the T-Bell, but there wasnt enough to make it satisfying the way a good burger would be. It felt over fluffed with iceberg lettuce and tortilla in a way you wouldn't expect from a cheaper Taco Bell offering, like the Beefy Five Layer, leaving it a questionable value proposition at $2.99. Not being a huge fan of the King's usual burger selection, I would be more likely to opt for the Whopperito over a vanilla Whopper. I just don't see someone picking one up when a Taco Bell is available, though. There are better, more plentiful gimmick entrées there, offered more consistently. At $2.99, I can attest the Whopperito was palatable and provided sustenance, but wasn't entirely satisfying. Final verdict: 5.5/10
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TheStreet reviewed the Whopperrito (video above) inside a downtown Manhattan Burger King location. Although it wasn't life-changing and lacked the creativity of prior food mashups from Burger King, the Whopperrito was edible. And for the price, especially compared to a Chipotle (CMG - Get Report) burrito that could fetch over $10 depending on location, the Whopperrito offered a decent amount of value. But all in all, we certainly understand social media's backlash on the item.
Burger King's parent company Restaurant Brands International (QSR - Get Report) has stressed weird new food items recently in an effort to grow sales in the highly competitive fast-food space. In July, the chain launched Mac n' Cheetos, which is a portable combination of mac n' cheese covered with crispy Cheetos flavor.
In April, the company took its popular chicken fries rings nationwide. These more appetizer-like product launches came on the heels of a major hot dog platform roll-out in February across all of its 7,150 North America locations. And in March it unveiled the Angriest Whopper, a burger with a red bun, jalapenos and hot sauce.
Weird fast-food has worked for Burger King. Same-restaurant sales at Burger King's U.S. business were unchanged in the second quarter due to the broader slowdown in the fast-food industry thanks to a shaky economy that sent people back to eating at home.
But the results outpaced many of the company's closest competitors. In the first quarter, same-store sales rose a solid 4.2%. Wall Street has rewarded Restaurant Brands for its outside the box thinking. Shares of Restaurant Brands have gained 28% this year over the past 12 months, out-performing the S&P 500's 15% increase.
With a potential Whopperrito flop on its hands, however, investors may grow worried Burger King has run out of creative new ideas to drive sales. And that could ultimately prove unsavory to shares of the red-hot Restaurant Brands International.