Burger King plans to let its customers eat steak, along with grilled shrimp and chicken-topped salad as the company catches-up with competitors in a bid to attract high-protein dieters.
The Miami-based company Tuesday said it was expanding its menu for the second time since September with offerings aimed at followers of the protein-rich Atkins diet, and similar weight-loss plans like the South Beach and Zone diets.
Privately held Burger King, the No. 2 burger chain behind McDonald’s Corp. , is trying to improve sales and reverse a 22 percent decline in customer traffic over the previous six years.
Following the protein diet trend
The menu changes reflects similar measures taken by McDonald’s, which credits its meal-sized salads with turning around sales at its struggling U.S. restaurants.
In the wake of the popular protein diet wave, Burger King continues efforts to capitalize on its fire-grill image, setting itself apart from restaurants that fry meat.
By spring, Burger King will add a one-third pound Angus beefburger to its menu, in addition to steak strip, shrimp and chicken strip salad offerings.
“We may not have been the first, but we feel like we’re now clearly offering the preferred burger in the industry,” both for meat indulgers and low-carb dieters, said Russ Klein, the company’s chief global marketing strategist.
Burger King added three low-fat chicken baguette choices to its nenu in September, each containing less than five grams of fat.
The company is also kicking off an advertising campaign that highlights its Whopper as a low-carbohydrate option when the bun is removed.
Like fast-food rivals McDonald’s and Yum Brands Inc. , which operates the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains, Burger King faces growing competition from fast-casual chains that are responding to consumers’ desire for fresher, healthier foods.
Burger King, which was bought in December 2002 by an investor group led by Texas Pacific Group, had $11.3 billion in system-wide sales in fiscal 2002.