Burger King will start selling burgers with black buns nationwide on Monday.
The new Halloween Whopper features a beef patty with American cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, A.1. steak sauce, pickles, and onions.
The pitch-black bun has A.1. sauce baked into the bread, according to the company.
By releasing a black burger in the US, Burger King is taking a page out of its playbook in Japan, where the chain’s coloured burgers have generated a ton of buzz.
Burger King released two all-black burgers in Japan last September with black buns, black cheese, and black sauce. This summer, the company released a bright red burger dyed with tomato powder, as well as new black burger with deep-fried eggplant.
The burgers look pretty unappetizing in real life.
But they aren’t meant to replace the Whopper.
The sandwiches are instead a marketing scheme meant to offset the company’s slim ad budget in Japan, Masanori Tatsuiwa, Burger King Japan’s general manager for business management, told AdWeek.
“At the moment we don’t have much ad budget in our hands, so we do almost everything by ourselves, Tatsuiwa told AdWeek. “We are not using any creative agencies for these products. And this way we don’t need any big money to expand our awareness in the market.”
Burger King Japan’s marketing team, including research and development, is comprised of just five people, Tatsuiwa said.
And the chain is struggling to compete with much bigger rivals in the region, such as McDonald’s.
Burger King has fewer than 93 restaurants in Japan, while McDonald’s has about 3,000, by comparison.
The company’s strategy with the coloured burgers appears to be working. Nearly every major media organisation in Japan and the US, including Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Forbes, and The Japan Times has written stories about Burger King’s oddly-coloured burgers.
And customers have been posting hundreds of photos of the burgers online.
That’s why Burger King decided to bring them to the US, Burger King Chief Marketing Officer Eric Hirschhorn said in a statement.
“Our US guests have been extremely curious about the bun flavours they have seen introduced in Japan and other countries, so we saw the opportunity to bring them an equally unique experience,” Hirschhorn said. “We tailored the flavour of the black bun to the American palate with A.1. sauce, a flavour this country loves, and we’re delivering it in a way that’s never been done before by baking it into the bun. It may look Japanese but it tastes like America.”
The burgers will be available for a limited time for $US4.99.
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