Monday, June 18, 2012
Rant #759: Bacon and ...
Burger King is now the third most popular hamburger fast food joint in the United States.
It recently fell from the number two spot, which it seemingly held for generations, and was replaced by Wendy's.
Of course, McDonald's is number one.
Anyway, back to Burger King.
Burger King generally appeals to a core audience of males from their mid-teens through their mid 20s, or people who think that they are still in that age group.
But falling to third place isn't to be tolerated by Burger King, no matter who their core audience is.
So Burger King brought in some new people into its fold, and tasked them with developing new and exciting offerings for their audience, and more importantly, for those who they hoped to interest in their menu offerings.
Expand the audience, and expand your profits.
So they've brought in some new salads, some new breakfast items, and some other things as they compete in the torrid fast food wars.
But there is one item that they brought in that is garnering all the publicity above anything else:
The Bacon Sundae.
Taking a page from higher, upscale restaurants offering this type of fare to guests, Burger King is offering diners a concoction of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and bacon as a new taste treat.
My son--who at 16 is in Burger King's prime demographic--wanted Burger King this Father's Day weekend, so I thought I would take the splurge, ordering this interesting sounding dessert and tasting it for myself.
I figured, I could only die once, since on the next day, we were having a group of people over for for our annual Father's Day barbecue (it was a good day, by the way), so if it was putrid, the taste wouldn't last too long--24 hours--maybe until I cranked up the grill and started cooking.
Well, I did, and here is my appraisal of it.
The ice cream is their usual soft serve, which reminds me of the old Mister Softee ice cream I had as a kid. It goes down real quick, and is kind of tasty without being utltra sweet.
The syrup plops to the bottom, so you don't get that taste until you have eaten a couple of spoon fulls of the ice cream. It is gooey, sweet, and mixed in with the ice cream, it is a pretty good sundae as it is.
But now for the fat of the matter ...
Burger King mixes in some small pieces of bacon into the ice cream, topped off with a larger, thicker piece of bacon which sticks out of the top of this concoction.
Eating the ice cream and the syrup with the bacon is kind of a weird experience. You get the sweet mixed with the salty and smokey, and that is kind of different, to say the least.
The problem is that the bacon really isn't that good of a piece of bacon, so the sweet kind of overrides the salty and smokey.
Basically, what you get is sweet mixed with chewy, and their bacon is very chewy.
The ice cream, which normally slides down your throat easily, has to wait a few seconds until you chew up the bacon.
This is nothing more than a novelty, and I will bet that a lot of people will initially buy it out of curiosity. But will they buy it again, and again, and again?
I seriously doubt it.
Burger King could have aced this if they used a better piece of bacon in the mix, something lighter, and maybe a little more tender.
What you have is a sundae that you have to chew, and that really isn't that good.
On a hot day, you want your sundae to go down easy. This sundae needs chewing to go down, so what is the point of having this on a hot summer day?
The point is simple, and it has nothing to do with taste.
Burger King has gotten an incredible amount of publicity about this dessert, a lot of free publicity because of its uniqueness.
You can't get this dessert in McDonald's, and you can't get it in Wendy's.
With the fast food wars always revving up during the summer, now Burger King has a game changer; people who might go to McDonald's or Wendy's might veer off to Burger King to try this concoction, so the curiosity factor will win out here, at least initially.
The problem is that it won't be sustained. Once the novelty wears off, people will bypass Burger King and go to the other places--but Burger King is counting on their other menu items to win over the populace, and this is just one element of their menu changeover.
Buy the sundae, and buy another menu offering, and maybe that menu offering will engage you enough that you will come in again.
I give them an A for effort, an A for uniqueness, but only a C for execution.
But you know, that might just be enough for Burger King to jump start their move ahead of Wendy's. They will never catch McDonald's, but Wendy's might be ripe for the catching. It probably is doable.
So here is to the Bacon Sundae, an idea we will be talking about in the years to come as a noble idea, but ultimately, nothing more.
But I hope Burger King and the other fast foods continue to think out of the box like this, and come up with menu items that make we want to try out their new fare.
I mean, how much more can you do with a hamburger than what you have already done?
Let me digest my thoughts, and I will speak to you again on Wednesday, as tomorrow, I have to go for another eye exam and will be out of pocket, so to speak.
See you again on Wednesday.
Posted by Larry at 3:59 AM