Burger King is rolling out its summer menu this week, which will be headlined by the BK Rib Sandwich, seen by many as a rival to McDonald's McRib.
Almost a carbon copy of the sandwich that has been a McDonald's seasonal staple for 32 years, the BK Rib Sandwich features boneless ribs, a tangy sauce, and sweet pickles. Burger King says the creation of its new rib sandwich was driven by consumer demand and commodity prices.
"Our guests have grown to look for a variety of options,"
Eric Hirschhorn, vice president of global innovation at Burger King, told USA Today. "It's not just about beef anymore, but other proteins like chicken and turkey and pork."
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The BK Rib was tested in Shreveport, La., and sold "extremely well," Hirschhorn said. The recommended price, which will vary by market, is $3.49 a la carte and $5.59 as a meal — with fries and soft drink.
Burger King introduced Fire-Grilled Ribs in 2010, but the price — an eight-piece meal cost nearly $9 in some markets — drove customers away.
Joining the BK Rib Sandwich on the chain's summer menu is a Memphis Pulled Pork sandwich, a line of Carolina BBQ sandwiches, a BBQ Chicken Salad, and Sweet Potato French Fries.
Though the BK Rib is so similar to the McRib, McDonald's shouldn’t worry about the competition, foodies say.
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"That McDonald's has been bringing back McRib for 32 years tells you it's popular and important," Scott Hume, editor of the blog BurgerBusiness, told USA Today. "I think McRib has such loyal fans that no one else's rib sandwich will hurt it, even if Burger King's is really good."
The BK Rib Sandwich will be available May 21.
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