- (Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)
Burger King's new menu items look a lot like McDonald's menu. The changed menu comes in response to Burger King falling to the number three fast food chain- behind Wendy's- last year.
Burger King's new menu wasn't introduced arbitrarily; the restaurant's failure to update their menu to match that of McDonald's resulted in their market share falling from 17 percent to 12 percent in the past decade, while their competitor's rose from 42 percent to 50.
"Consumers wanted more choices," Steve Wiborg, president of Burger King's North America operations, told the Associated Press. "Not just healthy choices, but choices they could get at the competition."
Unfortunately, though, critics see the new menus- complete with homestyle chicken strips, fruit smoothies, and wraps- as closely resembling the McDonald's menu. Because Burger King waited so long, now critics see the changes as reminiscent of other restaurants' slow changes to accommodate more healthy-eating customers.
"We were getting behind with the wraps and salads that were coming on the market," said Tom McDonald, an owner of Burger King franchises since 1989. "We had salads, but they weren't as good as the competition. We focused on burgers maybe longer than we should have."
To promote the new, healthier menus, Burger King splurged on a top-of-the-line advertising campaign featuring Salma Hayek, David Beckham, Sofia Vergara, Steven Tyler, and Jay Leno.
In addition, a particularly jarring clip shows Mary J. Blige, 9-time Grammy-winning music artist and widely lauded "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul," altering her song's lyrics to sing about "crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, ranch dressing, wrapped up in a tasty flour tortilla."
While the 30-second spot was widely criticized by viewers, who felt Blige sold out, promoting chicken in a stereotypical, self-deprecating manner, a Burger King executive explained that using celebrities was necessary to compete.
"How do you really grab people's attention? And most of all, how do you get them to taste the product?" Alex Macedo, Burger King's Senior Vice President of North America Marketing, told CNN. "We chose celebrities to get people's attention faste and to show the diversity that we have with our brand."