[Update: As expected, the burger was unveiled on Jan. 10. Also updated with confirmed nutrition info.]
Burger King will announce as early as tomorrow (Monday, Jan. 10) the much-anticipated introduction of the first stuffed burger on a national quick-service restaurant chain menu. With a name that is nearly as big a mouthful as the product, the Jalapeño & Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse already has slipped onto the menu in some markets. But several operators told BurgerBusiness.com they were waiting until Monday.
The stuffed burger will be marketed with the slogan “In it. Not on it.” to emphasize that cheese and jalapeños are infused into the beef patty. The sandwich also sports a creamy poblano sauce, lettuce and tomato on top of the patty.
The introductory a la carte price will be $3.99 (holding to the introductory price when the Steakhouse XT line was unveiled a year ago), with combo prices varying by location. A quick check found that units in most markets will bundle a Jalapeño & Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse combo with small fries or onion rings and a small drink for $5.99—a $2 upcharge. With tax, one BK unit in eastern Pennsylvania said its combo meal will cost a hefty $6.59.
That pushes Burger King once again into price competition with its new fast-casual challengers, as happened last spring when some units sold 8-pice meals of its BK Fire-Grilled Ribs for as much as $8.99. Will consumers—especially adult burger lovers—choose Burger King’s Stuffed Steakhouse when a third-pound burger at Smashburger or a double-patty cheeseburger at Five Guys is each $4.99?
Burger King also gambles with this premium-price burger intro because most competitors are observing QSRs’ traditional January “price diet.” McDonald’s is promoting its budget/waistline friendly $1.99 Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. McD’s also has a “20 McNuggets for $5” offer to countr KFC‘s “20 Hot Wings for $10” promotion. Wendy’s is backing its 99¢ Everyday Value Menu, to which it has added the new Natural-Cut Fries with Sea Salt. Jack in the Box has a $3.99 Jumbo Deal; Sonic‘s current LTO is a $2.99 BLT sandwich; Checkers has brought back $1 “Unbelievaburgers” and both Culver’s and Steak ‘n Shake are each touting eight meals for $4 or less. Burger King’s $6.00-plus combo meal stands out from this pack.
It was nearly a year ago that then-BK CEO John Chidsey told analysts that stuffed burgers were one of many future menu additions made possible by installation of the chain’s new batch broiler. Burger King has since been acquired by investment firm 3G Capital and Chidsey, who remains a director, has been replaced as CEO by Bernardo Hees, who previously had headed Latin American railroad America Latina Logistica. BK first tested the Jalapeño & Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse in Indianapolis in August. That led us earlier to forecast that 2011 will be the “year of the stuffed burger.” And so it begins.
Burger King tells us that the Jalapeño & Cheddar BK Stuffed Steakhouse has 590 calories, 34 grams of fat and 1,240 mg of sodium.