Burger King is looking for a new crown: Hot Dog King.
The Miami-based chain says it plans to put hot dogs on its menu nationally for the first time starting Feb. 23. It may seem like a jarring addition for those who know the chain for its Whoppers. But Burger King says its ability to flame-grill meat makes hot dogs a natural fit on its menu.
"This is probably the most obvious product launch ever," said Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America.
With the launch, Burger King says it will offer hot dogs at all 7,100 of its U.S. restaurants — more U.S. locations than any other chain. Smaller chains that sell hot dogs include Dairy Queen and Sonic Drive-In.
The move comes as Burger King works to push up sales amid intensifying competition, with McDonald's offering breakfast items all day to spark a turnaround, while Wendy's offers a "4 for $4" deal to get customers in the door. In 2014, Burger King's sales rose 2.1 percent at established locations in the U.S. and Canada. Parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. reports results for 2015 next week.
Macedo said hot dogs would build on the chain's momentum given their growing popularity, including at trendy eateries.
Tests of the hot dogs in a handful of cities last year resulted in unspecified sales increases, according to Burger King. The food-review website The Impulsive Buy noted the hot dogs seem "small and not quite substantial enough" but otherwise gave them a positive review.
Still, fast-food history is riddled with menu flops, and Burger King is no exception. In 2013, for instance, the chain launched lower-calorie fries called "Satisfries." They failed less than a year later.