Aug. 27, 2013 at 10:58 AM ET
The ante keeps getting upped in the battle between fast food giants for the American belly (and bucks).
A day after The Chicago Tribune reported that McDonald's plans to launch a new chicken menu item, dubbed Mighty Wings, Burger King fired back Tuesday with a "French Fry Burger" for a buck.
McD's said that it will roll out Mighty Wings nationally as a limited-time offer through November, and the bone-in chicken wings will be sold as three, five and 10 pieces, starting at $2.99 with nine different sauces including Chipotle Barbeque, Spicy Buffalo and Tangy Barbeque, according to the website BurgerBusiness.com.
McDonald's has begun the process to trademark the name "Mighty Wing," the Chicago Tribune confirmed. The chicken wings were first tested in Chicago and Atlanta and the national rollout is scheduled to be completed Sept. 24, the newspaper said.
Burger King said the "French Fry Burger" will be available Sept. 1 through the fall, as it looks to drum up sales and customer interest with cheap new concoctions.
The burger, which clocks in at 360 calories and 19 grams of fat doesn't require any extra investment from Burger King; it's basically a standard beef patty topped with four of the chain's french fries.
Burger King's move appears to mimic what Pittsburgh's famed Primanti Bros. ("Almost Famous since 1933") already knew: more sides on the sandwich are better. Primanti's tops all of its sandwiches with fries (and cole slaw and tomatoes).
The fast food chains' offerings comes as they jump through hoops to get customers through their doors, in large part by heavily promoting their cheapest eats.
McDonald's in particular has stepped up advertising for its Dollar Menu, which now features its Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger and a more substantial McDouble, which has two patties and a slice of cheese. That forced Burger King and Wendy's to adjust their tactics earlier this year to stress value more clearly as well. Burger King, for example, has offered any two sandwiches for $5 and a Junior Whopper for $1.29.
It's not clear whether the strategy will pay off for the chains, or what impact it could have on wearing away at profit margins over the long term. But in the latest quarter, Burger King said its sales at North American restaurants open at least a year slipped 0.5 percent. Wendy's reported an anemic 0.4 percent rise, while McDonald's reported a 1 percent increase for U.S. restaurants. The metric is an important indicator of health because it strips out the impact of newly opened and closed locations.
Other chains, by contrast, are faring better. Chipotle reported a 3.4 percent increase and Starbucks said the figure rose 9 percent.
CNBC and The Associated Press contributed to this report.