Burger King premium burgers

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The Angus Burger
Burger King Steakhouse XT.jpg
The Steakhouse XT sandwich
Nutritional value per 1 sandwich (273 g)
Energy 640 kcal (2,700 kJ)
55 g
Sugars 10 g
33 g
Saturated 10 g
Trans 1.5 g
33 g
Trace metals
Sodium
(84%)
1260 mg
Other constituents
Cholesterol 185 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Since the early 2000s, international fast food restaurant chain Burger King has attempted to create a premium line of sandwiches. The first such example was introduced in 2002 as the BK Back Porch Griller sandwich line. The sandwich, introduced in May 2002 was a pronounced failure, and pulled in September of that year. The next product Burger King introduced was its Angus steakburger which was introduced in 2004, and it too had lackluster sales due to the patty being par cooked. It was later reformulated to use a fresh cooked patty.

In North America the sandwich was replaced with the Steakhouse XT burger, which used a new, thicker round patty among several other changes. At Hungry Jacks in Australia it is called the Classic Angus, aimed at a different more middle class audience. Only variations of the sandwich that explicitly state "Angus" in the title are manufactured from meat from Angus cattle. In 2011, the company discontinued selling the product in the North American market, replacing it with the Chef's Choice burger. The Chef's Choice Burger was removed in 2012. 2014 saw the introduction of the newest attempt at introducing a premium burger to the company's portfolio with the introduction of the A.1. Ultimate Cheeseburger in North America.

These sandwiches are part of a system internally know as the barbell strategy which is designed to expand Burger King's menu with both more sophisticated, adult oriented fare along with products that are more value-oriented. These sandwiches are intended to bring in a larger, more affluent adult audience who will be willing to spend more on the better quality products on one side while maintaining a lower cost value menu dedicated to a more cost-conscious audience on the other.

To promote continuing interest in these products, Burger King occasionally released limited-time (LTO) variants on its premium burgers that have different ingredients from the standard sandwich recipes. Being one of the company's major business strategies, these sandwiches have sometimes been the center of product advertising for the company. Additionally, as a major product group within the company's portfolio, Burger King has registered many global trademarks to protect its investment in these products.

History[edit]

The barbell strategy[edit]

The barbell strategy is the company's name for a pricing system that offers lower priced items targeting value-conscious customers balanced against more premium menu items.[1] The idea behind this concept is to provide an upgrade path for customers to move along (value items → regular menu items → premium menu items) utilizing the value items to drive customers into the restaurant while the higher-cost premium items to increase average check. Typically, the value segment of Burger King's menu typically drives about one third of the chain's sales in North America.[2] One of the required ingredients in the barbell strategy formula requires suppliers to approve contracts that are more favorable to the chain.[1] The concept was introduced by Britain-based Diageo towards the end of its ownership tenure in 2002. After the acquisition of the company by the Texas Pacific Group (TPG) in 2003, newly installed CEO John Chidsey continued to use the concept as part of TPG's revitalization efforts.[3] When TPG sold the company to Brazil-based 3G Capital, the new owners also continued to use the strategy as part of its marketing efforts.[4] The company will occasionally move the focus of the campaign to one end or the other spectrum, pushing one group of products as market forces demand.[1][4] The chain will also move limited time offerings (LTO), such as the Angry Whopper or Summer BBQ promotions, into the premium segment of the barbell while it moves others, usually utilizing a lower price point for a sandwich or beverage, into the value segment. The idea behind using these marketing moves is to keep the menu fresh, enticing customers with newer items or known items at a discount.[5]

One of the "tricks" to enticing customers to upgrade their purchase to a higher priced item is through the use of certain terms that the public associates with quality.[6] Words such as "premium", "sirloin" and "Angus" often convey meanings to the public that it is purchasing a better product that is of a higher quality than the average burger they are used to getting, even if the terms used in the ad copy are loosely or completely undefined.[6] Additionally, consumer surveys found that the public will show a preference for terms such as "Black Angus" over "ground beef" by a factor of more than 10-to-1. All of these moves are designed to appeal to consumers that are looking for a better tasting fast-food product that is of a higher quality.[7]

North America[edit]

Back Porch Grillers[edit]

The Back Porch Grillers were introduced in 2002 as part of a plan to increase the company's sales ahead of the upcoming sale of Burger King from then owner Diageo to a group of investors lead by Texas Pacific Group (TPG).[8] In its press release announcing the product, Burger King stated the intent of the burgers was to invoke the taste of a grilled burger that one would cook at home. At the time of launch there were two flavors of the sandwich, the Homestyle and the Smokehouse Cheddar, both served on a "bakery-style" bun.[9] A third type, the Black Strap BBQ Griller, was introduced as a product tie-in with Men in Black II two weeks later.[10] Initial testing of the sandwich lead to favorable scoring in customer surveys and a roughly 15% increase in sales without compromising the sales of other products such as the Whopper. Due to the favorable results in testing, the company pushed up the introduction of the sandwich nationally. However, the product was statemented into two variants due to the company's introduction of its new broiler line;[8] these new broilers were designed to allow a greater flexibility of products with different cooking times and heat settings which allowed the company to sell thicker burgers that required more cooking times.[11] At the time of the sandwiches' introduction, the new broiler units had only been introduced to about one tenth of its North American stores. In these stores the sandwich was made with a single, thicker 13 lb (150 g) patty;[12] in those locations with the older units, the company used a pair of thinner 2.4 oz (68 g) patties in a double burger sandwich.[12] The use of the thinner patties resulted in numerous customer complaints that the sandwich was dry and not as tasteful as the thicker patty version.[8]

The product was introduced at a point of massive change for the company; besides the new broiler system that was being introduced, the company was also adding an entirely new product holding system designed to improve the quality of its products.[13] Burger King was also tinkering with its menu in regards to other products, adding the Griller and a new veggie burger sandwich along with changes to its grilled chicken offerings, onion rings and milkshakes.[14] The company had high hopes for the product at the time of introduction; same store sales for the company had been falling for at least five years resulting in lagging market share and decreased customer counts.[13] The failure of the product left a hole in the company's menu, leaving it without the premium product side of its barbell strategy at a point where parent Diageo was trying to build up the chain's value to maximize the profit in the upcoming sales to the Texas Pacific Group.[8] This failure was part of a series of events that deteriorated the chain's financial performance and eventually forced Diageo to drop its selling price for the chain from $2.26 billion (USD) to $1.5 billion (USD).[15].

The Angus Burger[edit]

Angus Burger - bacon and cheese steak version

The Angus burger was first introduced into the North American market in 2004.[6] The burger featured a seasoned, pre-cooked 13 lb (150 g) patty that was intended to have a "steak flavor". The sandwich was introduced at the height of the low-carbohydrate diet craze that was popular in the United States at the time, a trend that Burger King hoped to capitalize on. The chain also hoped to stave off competition from up-and-coming fast casual restaurant chains such as Panera Bread and Chipoltle buy adding a higher quality product.[16][17] At the time of the introduction, the sandwich's price point was $3.29 - one of the highest-cost sandwiches the chain had introduced to that point.[16] The sandwich was introduced in two varieties, but was supplemented with a two LTO varieties, one of which was a product tie-in with NBC's The Apprentice in 2005.[18][19]

The Angus burger was one of the company's important product lines, targeting a group of consumers the chain identified as the "Superfan"; a demographic of individuals that composed 20 percent of the chain’s customers, but 50 percent of the sales volume.[20] One of the issues related to the sandwich's failure was the fact that the patty it was using was precooked; the sandwich lacked the taste of a burger that was cooked from raw.[21] While the presented as a premium product, the meat texture was found not to be much different from that of the Whopper - a less-expensive sandwich that many customers preferred.[20] Beginning in January 2008, Burger King began to phase out the Angus burger in the US with the intention of replacing the sandwich with a newer Angus-based product in the second quarter of 2008.[22]

Steakhouse Burger[edit]

The Angus Steakhouse burger was introduced in April 2008.

Steakhouse XT[edit]

With the introduction of the company's new broilers in the US and Canada, the product has again been replaced by the third generation sandwich called the Steakhouse XT burger, with the XT standing for eXtra Thick. The new sandwich came in two permanent varieties, both featuring a new round, .5 in (1.3 cm) thick patty. The patty was not made with Angus beef.

Chef's Choice burger[edit]

Chef's Choice Burger
Nutritional value per 1 sandwich (277 g)
Energy 770 kcal (3,200 kJ)
41 g
Sugars 8 g
Dietary fiber 2 g
50 g
Saturated 21 g
Trans 5 g
39 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv.
(4%)
35 μg
Vitamin C
(0%)
0 mg
Trace metals
Iron
(15%)
1.9 mg
Sodium
(121%)
1820 mg
Other constituents
Energy from fat 450 kcal (1,900 kJ)
Cholesterol 125 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

The Chef's Choice burger was a cheeseburger that was one of Burger King's products targeting the "indulgent" segment of the burger market. It consisted of a burger patty made from ground chuck, American cheese, bacon, red onion, romaine lettuce, tomato and a "griller sauce" sauce served on a brioche bun.

The Chef's Choice was introduced in October 2011 of new owner 3G Capital's menu restructuring.[23] The sandwich is a premium burger designed to compete with McDonald's Angus Third Pounder and Wendy's Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburgers.[24] Introduced as part of 3G capitals menu restructuring, the sandwich features Burger King revamped bacon that replaced its former poorly rated bacon which the company's executive chef John Koch described as not deliving a "whole lot of bacon flavor." The new bacon is thicker cut, with natural smoked flavoring and is cooked in-house.[25] The sandwich was removed from the menu in mid-2012.

The company again used the advertising firm of McGarryBowen to promote the sandwich through its food-centric campaign.[26][27][28] The advertising program and naming of the product is designed to add to the cache of the product by associating with the terminology with higher quality products.[29]

Turkey burger[edit]

The turkey burger was introduced in 2013 as part of a summer-time limited time offering promotion called Festival of Burgers.

Stuffed burgers[edit]

Europe[edit]

The Aberdeen Angus burger[edit]

In 2006 the European version of the Angus sandwich was it was added to the menu in the United Kingdom and Ireland.[30]

In the UK the Angus was removed from the menu in early 2013 following the European horse meat scandal. Although Burger King stated that no traces of horse meat had been found in their patties, they were processed in the same factory as some affected products so were withdrawn as a precaution. The European sandwich was reintroduced in mid-2014.

The $190 Burger[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

The BK Crown Jewels line was developed by the Burger King franchisee in New Zealand, Tasman Pacific Foods, abbreviated TPF. The sandwiches were introduced in the summer of 2005 as part of Burger King's global program to introduce more adult oriented fare to its menu.[31] The products themselves were variations on the existing Whopper, TenderCrisp and TenderGrill sandwiches and featured more exotic ingredients such as mango lime salsa, avocado and garlic aioli.[31]

Within two months of their introduction, sales at New Zealand restaurants increase by approximately 10%, and drew the attention of Burger King Holdings. BKH observed the sales trends and market acceptance of the products for several months after the introduction for the possible purpose of extending the concept in other markets. While the concept was tailored for the New Zealand market, TPF executives stated that it would be easy to adapt the concept to other regions.[31] Some restaurant industry observers agreed with the TPF assessment of the products and separately stated other sauces and ingredients could be used to crate variations in the US and other markets.[32]

Asia[edit]

In Hong Kong, Burger King sold the Angus XT Black Truffle burger.

Competitive products[edit]

As the success of the barbell strategy became evident to the general market place, other chains such as McDonald's and Carl's Jr./Hardee's began to experiment with the concept.[6] Introduced in 2001, Carl's Jr./Hardee's sell's it's Six-Dollar Burger, a line of sandwiches that is also made from Angus beef.[6][33]

In the United States, McDonald's introduced its own Angus Third Pounder sandwich in 2009. They were removed from the menu in 2013 and replaced with new variations on its Quarter Pounder sandwich.[34][35]

Advertising[edit]

North American[edit]

  • Dr. Angus
Dr. Angus was a CP+B creation launched in 2004 to promote the new Angus line of Sandwiches. Played by comedian Harry Enfield, the character is a smarmy self-help "doctor" with gleaming white teeth and a starched toupee who encourages eaters to "sit down" and enjoy the BK's large Angus burgers. In 2006, the character was again used to advertise BK's new Cheesy Bacon Angus and TenderCrisp sandwiches.[36]
In addition, CP+B added a viral marketing web page The Angus Diet. Designed to work with the larger Angus campaign, this site featured the such things as the Angus diet testimonials, a faux diet book and Angus interventions. The "interventions" could be sent to people via e-mail by filling out several fields on the page. As CP+B stated: "They were a way of getting people to spread the idea of the basis of the Angus Diet - just enjoy life. Do whatever you want. Eat whatever you want as long as it makes you happy."[37]
  • The Western Barbecue Angus
In a cross promotion with the 2005 season of the Apprentice, the two teams, Magna and Net Worth, competed in a contest to design a sandwich for BK to sell. The winning product was the Net Worth team and their "Western Angus Steak Burger". As a promotional stunt, the new sandwich was introduced as a nation-wide, limited time offering the day after the episode aired.[38]
  • Steakhouse (1st campaign)
The first line of advertisements for the Steakhouse Burger tagged the sandwich as "the burger you just can't wait for." The commercials often featured people in a rush to get to Burger King and purchase a Steakhouse Burger, risking the safety of other people and property around them in the process.
  • Steakhouse Burger (2nd campaign)
The second line of advertisements for the Steakhouse Burger tagged the sandwich as "so special, people might think you think you're special." The commercials imply that the Steakhouse Burger is a burger that people have to "earn the right" to eat. They usually feature two characters each enjoying the burger. They are then approached by a third character, who asks what the other two characters did to earn the sandwich. The first character boasts of an extraordinary feat, while the second character says he was "just hungry" or "just wanted one." The third character then berates the second character, calling him arrogant for eating a sandwich that he "did not deserve."

Europe[edit]

The Angus burger adverts featured a man (played by Richard Bennett) asking for an Angus Burger in a 'FastBurger' restaurant - a parody of McDonald's - and the counter staff laughing, presumably because they didn't think you could buy one in a fast food restaurant. The news of the order reaches the FastBurger headquarters and everyone associated with the fictional chain is laughing. The chairman is by now laughing after being told about the order on the phone, and says "An Angus Burger, is he crazy?!" An assistant gives him the morning Evening Standard paper and the front page story reads 'Burger King Debuts The Angus". Then the camera pulls back through the office to reveal a real Angus Burger and the announcer says "The Angus Burger, only at Burger King".

New Zealand[edit]

The advertising program for these sandwiches featured the slogan Flash, but not too flash which was an inference stating while they cost more than the standard burger offerings at BK, they were not as much as one would expect to pay at a higher end outlet.[31] The products were introduced in a series of three pairs of commercials in both 15 and 30 second formats. The commercials featured animals such as snails or frogs that are used as exotic cuisine in various regions of the world. As the narrator announces BK is looking for new and more complex ingredients for their new line of sandwiches, the animals are shown reacting in a fearful way believing they are the new ingredients. At the end, the narrator declares one of the new flavors and the animal is relieved to find out they are not food, then they are promptly dispatched by the new food item (i.e. the frog is hit with a mango).[39]

Controversies[edit]

Trademarks[edit]

Burger King currently does not have any trademarks on the Angus line of sandwiches in the US, Canada, Europe or South Korea.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Trademark source information

1. Back Porch Grillers trademarks

2. Angus Burgers trademarks

3. Steakhouse trademarks

4. Steakhouse XT trademarks

5. Chef's Choice` trademarks

Notes:

1. British trademarks with the "EU" prefix are European Community wide trademarks.
2. American, European, and New Zealand trademark offices do not allow direct linking of trademark information.

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Adamy, Janet (2 April 2008). "Man Behind Burger King Turnaround". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Walker, Elaine (16 February 2010). "Burger King putting new focus on value products". Miami Herald. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
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  13. ^ a b Steighorst, Tom (28 February 2002). "A Whopper Of A Campaign". Orlando Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Zunitch, Victoria (14 March 2002). "Burger King serves up veggie burger". CNN. Money Magazine. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
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  16. ^ a b Horovitz, Bruce (3 March 2004). "Fast-food restaurants herd Angus beef burgers onto menu". USA Today. Gannet. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
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  39. ^ TPF. "TPF/BKC webpage". Archived from the original on 9 July 2007. Retrieved 27 June 2007.