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MIAMI -- Burger King will add Starbucks Corp.'s Seattle's Best Coffee to all its U.S. restaurants in an attempt to overhaul its breakfast menu and boost business, The Associated Press reported.
The nation's No. 2 burger chain will begin a phased rollout this summer. Burger King's BK Joe coffee brand, which was launched five years ago, will be retired.
The move takes a page from rival McDonald's Corp.'s success with its McCafe line of coffee drinks, which has been credited with boosting the chain's performance. The Burger King deal also adds a new wrinkle to the coffee wars because McDonald's coffee campaign has been seen as taking aim at Starbucks, according to the AP report.
"We'll be delivering a better cup of coffee," said John Schaufelberger, senior vice president of Burger King's global product marketing and innovation, adding improving its breakfast business is among the company's "top strategic priorities."
Once the rollout is completed, more than 7,000 Burger King restaurants will sell the Seattle's Best coffee along with iced varieties that also come with a choice of plain, vanilla or mocha flavors and whipped toppings. While prices will be set by franchise owners -- who operate 90 percent of the chain's locations -- the brew's suggested prices range from $1 to $2.79. The drinks will be sold all day, the AP report stated.
Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed, but the deal marks the latest expansion of the Seattle's Best brand, which was acquired by Starbucks in 2003. In the fall, Starbucks signed a deal with Subway locations to sell the roasted coffee in 9,000 locations -- more than doubling the number of U.S. sites where the brand is currently sold.
Burger King's coffee announcement marks the beginning of the first sizable change to the chain's breakfast lineup, which was last revamped in 2007 with the launch of its breakfast value menu. "You should expect to see new and improved products from Burger King at breakfast," Schaufelberger told the AP.
And in yet another menu change, the Miami-based restaurant chain said it will raise the price of its $1 double cheeseburger and introduce a new value sandwich in its place. The move comes after Burger King encountered fierce pushback from franchisees over its $1 double cheeseburger promotion, Nation's Restaurant News reported.
When the $1 double cheeseburger was launched last October, franchisees said they were losing more than a dime per sandwich sold. Some of them sued the company, alleging that it did not have the right to mandate maximum prices.
This week, Burger King announced that beginning in late April, it will offer a BK Dollar Double, which has two flame-broiled burger patties but only one slice of cheese instead of two. The original quarter-pound double cheeseburger will go up in price to $1.19.
The strategy is similar to one McDonald's employed in 2008, raising the price of its double cheeseburger to $1.19 and introducing a $1 McDouble, which contains two burger patties and one slice of cheese.
"We are excited to offer two great-tasting sandwiches to our guests at prices they appreciate," a Burger King spokeswoman said Wednesday. "BK continues to test innovative new products that will appeal to both value conscious consumers and those seeking premium indulgent products at affordable prices."
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