Burger King has iconic menu items like the Whopper that have been fans favorites for decades. But like even the best baseball players who make an out about 7 out of 10 at bats, Burger King has struck out a lot. Whet your appetite for these 10 discontinued menu items we miss (part 2.)
10. Donut King
Did you know that Burger King offered donut holes? Not many other people did either because why would you go to Burger King for donuts? Apparently some people did try the small glazed treats that came as an order of 5 of the sticky little lumps. With places like Dunkin’, Krispy Creme and an untold number of independent donut shops, the fast food chain’s decision to offer donut holes seems to be a little questionable. According to reports they weren’t bad, they were warm and the glaze was sugary sweet. Perhaps best of all is they were available not just at breakfast, but were featured on the all day menu. However, with only the single flavor, customer demand soon went as stale as a day old donut hole. Having a single flavor of donut hole instead of a handful of varieties like Dunkin’ was evidence that Burger King really wasn’t committed to being a donut shop. Maybe customers would have responded better to a variety of flavors like jelly filled, chocolate glazed, powdered sugar and cinnamon. The big question is why should a burger joint like Burger King commit to donuts since they don’t really specialize in the art of the pastry. People go to Krispy Kreme or Dunkin’ presumably for the donuts, but they didn’t go to Burger King for them – they go for the burgers. But a few tasty donut holes for dessert does sound good.
9. BK Turkey Burger
One online food reviewer warned his readers to not be put off by the pale color of Burger King’s Turkey Burger. He reminded turkey lovers of the white meat they enjoy feasting on at Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey burgers made with white meat are much leaner than beef burgers and this is a good thing for your health. Unfortunately you usually end up with a dry and tasteless burger. The right seasonings and toppings can help a lot, but even so, they are just not as juicy and tasty as a good hamburger. Burger King’s Turkey Burger was topped with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mayonnaise, red onion and onion rings. This seems like too much onion, but they were trying to make up for the relative lack of flavor in the actual burger. If you were choosing your Burger King sandwich based on health considerations you would want to choose the grilled chicken option instead of the ground turkey patty. The turkey patty isn’t exactly low in fat, but it’s a little lower in fat than the beef burgers. This healthier option was offered by Burger King for a limited time in 2013. At the time it was the biggest fast food chain to offer a turkey burger to customers. Even though BK was leading the way, most people said the turkey burger just didn’t have as much flavor as the beef burgers. It’s no surprise it wasn’t much of a hit and the company has no plans to bring it back for even a limited run. Sometimes being a trend setter pays off – and sometimes it doesn’t.
8. Shake’m up Fries
‘Shake it up baby’ were lyrics to the classic hit Twist and Shout, but the folks at Burger King weren’t interested in music when they came up with Shake’m Up Fries. Back in 2002 the fast food chain decided its french fries and onion rings just weren’t cutting it anymore so BK decided to kick things ups notch. Shake’m Up Fries were Burger King’s regular fries with the addition of cheese flavored powder. You would put your fries in a paper bag then add the cheese powder and shake’m up! This is one of those ideas that probably sounded a lot better when it was discussed in a boardroom. Maybe if the fries were offered pre-shaken? If you didn’t seal the paper bag properly before shaking it you would get covered in orange cheese powder. Maybe they weren’t good enough to justify the extra step. But whatever the reason, Shake’m Up Fries only lasted a short time. Most people who eat at Burger King already like the fries as is. Maybe they use a little ketchup, but otherwise most people are ok with them. This discontinued product from Burger King seems like an example of a fast food solution in search of a problem. French fries taste so good because there is too much salt and fat in them and people are going to order them anyway so Burger King should have left well enough alone.
7. Crown Shaped Nuggets
Shakespeare was right when he observed “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” But he might not have known about the kind of stress fast food executives are under to increase sales in the the highly competitive restaurant industry. Burger King is always on the look out for a product that stimulates customers’ taste buds. BK thought it found it with crown shaped chicken nuggets. From 2006 to 2011 Burger King offered these unique three-pronged finger foods. A lot of Burger King customers were sad to see the crown shapes go, but some of them were also convinced that the taste had also changed. Burger King’s chicken nuggets have generally been second fiddle to McDonald’s more well known version of this now common menu item. No one really knows for sure why Burger King got rid of these nuggets, but one theory is that it thought the crown shape appealed to kids more than adults, so they concluded that a generic shaped chicken nugget would help increase sales. Executives won’t even say if the crown shaped nuggets were originally supposed to be a limited time offer or a permanent part of the menu. Either way it doesn’t look like these particular nuggets will show up on the menu anytime soon. Crown shaped nuggets seem like they should have been a good branding opportunity for the fast food chain so why didn’t it work? I wonder what Shakespeare would have thought about all this?
6. The Whopperito
Burger King is most known for its signature burger the Whopper. But like most fast food chains BK likes to play around with the menu in an effort to increase sales. Everyone knows that Mexican food is popular in America so it made sense that Burger King would try to come up with a some Mexican food themed menu items. The Whopperito consists of most of the ingredients of a traditional Whopper burger but uses a soft tortilla instead of a bun. Also, the ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise have been replaced with queso sauce. The Whopperito was first introduced in some Pennsylvania locations in 2016 and was then sold nationwide a few months later. According to Burger King there was a very positive reaction to the item when it was tested and this convinced the company to launch it nationwide. Some observers of the fast food industry commented that the Whopperito was an attempt by Burger King to compete with the popular Mexican restaurant, Chipotle. Apparently, despite its success, this Whopper in the form of a Mexican wrap was always intended to be only a limited time offer. However, because it was popular with customers we might see it again sometime.
5. Can’t get no Satisfries
The Rolling Stones are still doing their best to get some Satisfaction and that’s probably what Burger King’s Satisfries are all about. This alternate french fry recipe was an attempt to offer its fast food customers a healthier french fry option by making a recipe that absorbed less oil than they regular fries. These healthier options don’t often work at places like Burger King because people who eat there know the food is not health food and they are all right with it. You could go to Subway and get a turkey breast sub and Sun Chips, but you didn’t – you decided to go to Burger King for burgers and fries. When you order a Whopper and fries you’re getting a lot of calories and fat and a great tasting meal and that’s the deal we know we’ve made. Satisfries upset the balance when they were introduced and only served to remind people that the regular fries are too high in fat. The Satisfries generally received ok reviews, but not enough of them. They were also a little more expensive than the regular fries so Burger King was asking people to pay more money for less tasty fries. Purely from a marketing stand point this seems like a bad idea from the get go. As you probably expected most customers decided to stick with the regular fries so after disappointing sales Burger King discontinued this healthier option in favor of its regular fries. However, there is a segment of Satisfries fans still out there thinking maybe BK could give these another shot.
4. Enormous Omelet Sandwich
Burger King’s breakfast items always seemed a little ad hoc compared to McDonald’s well established and popular breakfast items like the Egg McMuffin. In 2005 Burger King introduced its Enormous Omelet Sandwich. For some reason the marketing experts thought this was a good name. However, the name is accurate with a whopping 740 calories and 47 grams of fat. This is a lot of fat for any fast food sandwich, but at least the customer was warned in advance. You can’t expect a sandwich with “enormous” in the name to be low in calories and fat. There is something for everyone in this enormous sandwich with generous helpings of egg, cheese, bacon and sausage on a sesame seed bun. The word overkill comes to mind especially when you consider the Egg McMuffin is a long time favorite without having to resort to the gimmick of an enormous sandwich that no one should really be eating. However, if you enjoy a really big breakfast than perhaps the Enormous Omelet Sandwich was for you. After being discontinued citing ‘health concerns’, the sandwich reappeared in 2012 as the Supreme Breakfast Sandwich and also eventually disappeared from U.S. menus. While this is better than the original name it’s still not great. Burger King has never had the branding success that McDonald’s has enjoyed. However, if you are in the mood for an Enormous Breakfast Sandwich, it is still on the menu at Burger King locations in Canada. I wonder if it comes with a breakfast side of poutine?
3. Hit the Bulls-Eye
The Bulls-Eye Burger from Burger King was offered in the late 1980’s, but it didn’t last for some reason. The Bulls-Eye Burger offered two flame broiled patties, cheese, bacon and of course, Bulls-Eye brand barbecue sauce. All of these delicious ingredients were layered on a subway style role. This should have been a hit and a permanent part of of the fast food chain’s menu. The combination of cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce is simply a winner that should be with us today. Burger King has offered other versions of a barbecue burger, but in 2007 the restaurant chain replaced the Bulls-Eye sauce with Sweet Baby Ray’s brand barbecue sauce. Apparently the fast food company never intended the Bulls-Eye Burger to be a regular part of the menu, but to be a limited time offer to help boost sales. But if people liked it, then wouldn’t BK want to keep it around to help boost sales? It’s been a while since Bulls-Eye brand barbecue sauce has been offered as part of a barbecue burger so perhaps it’s past the time for Burger King to bring back the Bulls-Eye Burger. Doesn’t it make sense to at least try it again for a limited time offer? The name alone just roles off the tongue – BK’s Bulls-Eye Burger. It seems like this burger would be a good fit for a summer promotion when people have barbecuing on their minds. Or perhaps Burger King could offer it in the winter when people can’t be outside barbecuing. Really, any season would be fine, just bring this one back. Your loyal subjects will rejoice and heap praise upon the great King – the Burger King, that is.
2. BK Premium in New Zealand
In New Zealand, the crown jewels has a completely different meaning than it does in the United Kingdom or even American slang. On the island nation, the crown jewels referred to a series of premium Burger King sandwiches. Tasman Pacific Foods was the company that actually developed the sandwiches for the fast food chain. The core of this premium line was the TenderGrill, a grilled chicken sandwich. The TenderGrill was one of the first grilled chicken options offered by a fast food chain. The line also included a fried chicken sandwich called the TenderCrisp. Some Angus beef burgers were also part of this push to appeal to a slightly higher end customer base that would be willing to spend a little more dough for higher quality products. The problem with these kinds of marketing strategies, and most fast food chains have done something like this at one time or another, is that the company is basically admitting that its regular menu is only average. Even if not the case, the New Zealand BK were knocking their own menu. The crown jewels line became a limited time only offer that would periodically be reintroduced to increase sales. We all want it our way at Burger King, but people also want Burger King to embrace its entire menu instead of promoting several tiers of quality. If Burger King will put out the best quality products it can across its entire menu then it should do just fine.
1. Cheesy Toes
Burger Kings Mac n’ Cheetos looks like a snack you might buy in a convenience store with a giant cup of Mountain Dew. The burger franchise has long sold French fries and onion rings, and has experimented with a couple flavors of chicken fries. When Burger King debuted this new snack in 2016, they described it as fried mac n’ cheese bites dipped in a coating that resembles the crusty cheesiness of Cheetos. Five pieces of these little snacks were sold with a side of ranch dressing in a special box that highlighted the Cheetos brand. This isn’t the first time a fast food company and a snack food company have joined forces, but the results have never been this cheesy. Mac n’ Cheetos were popular, but they were scheduled to run for only eight weeks so many customers were disappointed when the treats disappeared from Burger King after such as short run. There was also a short run of Cheetos Chicken Fries. However, this product seems like it was over the top even in a world of fast food escalation where one product is always trying to knock another one off the throne. Although they have yet to reappear at fast food locations Mac n’ Cheetos are sold in the frozen sections of supermarkets in the United States. If these Mac n’ Cheetos are popular enough to be sold in supermarkets then why aren’t they popular enough to be sold at Burger King restaurants? At some point we might see Burger King realize this and bring them back to the restaurants.