Burger King is launching its biggest new product in decades: the grilled hot dog.
“We want this to be the Whopper of hot dogs,” Alex Macedo, Burger King’s North America president, said at a launch event on Tuesday. “We know the Whopper is America’s favourite burger — we want this to be America’s favourite hot dog.”
The Classic Grilled Dog and the Chilli Cheese Dog will launch at Burger King locations across the US on February 23.
The company tested the hot dog in five different cities last year. According to Macedo, the company beat its targets in each city. Orders that included a hot dog resulted in larger average checks than orders without the new dish.
“We’re not seeing grilled dogs as a product launch,” says Macedo. “We’re tapping into a whole new category.”
After tasting the dogs, here’s why the hot dogs may be able to do just that — and why they might fall short.
The Classic Grilled Dog fulfils Burger King’s goal of crafting what Macedo calls “a hotdog that tastes like a backyard barbecue.” Grilling was a great choice on Burger King’s part. It gives the hot dog a nice smokiness that wouldn’t be out of place at a family barbecue.
The classic is topped with ketchup, mustard, chopped onions, and relish. The onions and relish cut through the smokiness of the hot dog very nicely.
At $1.99, it’s a quality frank that, should I be craving a hot dog, I’d purchase again.
The Chilli Cheese Grilled Dog is less of a delight. Don’t get me wrong — the hot dog once again captures the smokiness well, and the chilli adds a nice touch of sweetness. However, without the relish and mustard, it feels like I’m basically inhaling grease.
The dish is the same beef dog as the classic, topped with warm chilli and shredded cheddar cheese, and costs $2.29.
While I enjoyed both options and believe other hot dog lovers lacking in fast-food options will as well, I had one major issue with the dishes.
At risk of sounding like a glutton, one hot dog is simply not enough to fill me up. It makes sense that the check size is bigger for customers who order a grilled hot dog: they need at least one side to feel satisfied after a hot dog that you can demolish in under eight bites.
Burger King seems to have realised that this could be an issue. Macedo said that the company considered including two hot dogs in the combo deal, which pairs the dog with fries and a small fountain drink.
However, both Burger King and I agree — two hot dogs is too much. With the classic clocking in at 310 calories and the chilli cheese at 330 calories, two hot dogs is not the solution. Plus, eating both would add up to 14 grams of saturated fat — more than the American Heart Association’s daily limit.
If Burger King can convince customers to add a hot dog onto their orders, the company could have a winner on its hands. However, making the new item the next Whopper will not be as simple as swapping burgers for hot dogs.
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