Burger King's recent relaunch of its cultishlty beloved Chicken Fries contributed to healthy sales growth of almost 7% in its most recent quarter. Now, the chain is expanding its chicken fry game with Fiery Chicken Fries, a spicy spin-off.
It's like the regular product but flavored spices "that will make your mouth cry," the company claims in a press release. (More on that later.)
With the launch of this spicy sequel, available for a limited time, Burger King appears to have expanded Chicken Fries into product with flavor extensions, which could help boost sales again if diners take an interest (just imagine all the possible future Chicken Fries).
Behold the new box for the Fiery Chicken Fries.
For those who have never had a Chicken Fry, it might be helpful to think of a very thin chicken tender, or a chicken finger that's truer to the width of an actual finger (don't worry, it's boneless).
You may also describe it as poultry's answer to mozzarella sticks or french fries. But really, Chicken Fries belong to everyone and there's no wrong way to think of Chicken Fries.
For the fiery version, Burger King retained the popular packaging shape that original Chicken Fries come in, which is "designed to conveniently fit into a car cup holder, and comes with a built-in sauce holder" — handy for drive-thru customers.
The company credited BuzzFeed and other social sites for reigniting interest in original (unspicy) Chicken Fries, which were introduced in 2005 and discontinued in 2012. Burger King brought back its original Chicken Fries as a limited time offer in August 2014, and then permanently this past March.
The return of original Chicken Fries was among the factors that helped to boost comparable sales by 6.7% last quarter. "We were again pleased with the performance of our Chicken Fry sales," Daniel Schwartz, CEO of Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International, told investors in July.
With Fiery Chicken Fries, Burger King is talking up their spiciness.
Burger King cited a 2013 report by the food research firm Technomic in which 54% of surveyed consumers said they find hot or spicy foods appealing.
The chain said the new Chicken Fries were developed with the intention for a flavor "somewhere between pleasure and OM#G." Yes, the included the hashtag.
During product testing, "More than a quarter of taste testers even told us Fiery Chicken Fries were "spicy as $#*!", so when we heard that reaction we knew we had found the perfect level of heat," Eric Hirschhorn, Burger King's chief marketing officer for North America, said in a release.
It has even added a spicy warning on the Fiery Chicken Fries box.
So, how hot are they, really?
Fear not, it's very bearable. In fact, those with a high tolerance for spice will likely find it far from OM#G and hope for more heat. But, remember, Burger King has to be careful not to alienate consumers who merely dabble in the art of spice consumption.
Burger King declined to comment on further Chicken Fry innovation. Perhaps if this launch goes well, there will be another Chicken Fries extension in the future that will be hotter yet.
Venessa Wong is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Wong covers the food industry.
Contact Venessa Wong at email@example.com.
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