Coup d'taste: Burger dethroned as fast-food king
Chicken sandwiches now outnumber hamburgers on quick-service restaurant menus.
According to the website BurgerBusiness, market researcher Mintel has found more chicken sandwiches than burgers on the menus of quick-service restaurants since beef prices shot up in 2010.
As of 2012, chicken held a slim 330 to 323 lead. Burgers have regained some ground from 2011, when their numbers stood at 314. Chicken, though, is hardly on the ropes, with many consumers eating less red meat for health reasons.
"Consider the barrage of new menu items introduced by Burger King (BKW) in January," the site says. "Yes, it included an Avocado Swiss Whopper, but the wave also brought Philly Original Chicken and Italian Original Chicken sandwiches, as well as the introduction of new Chicken Nuggets."
McDonald's (MCD) recently introduced McWrap chicken sandwiches, the newest permanent addition to its menu, while Wendy's (WEN) unveiled Flatbread Grilled Chicken sandwiches. Let's not forget the continued popularity of chicken-wing joint Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) and the resiliency of Chick-fil-A, which reported a 12% increase in sales last year despite the negative publicity it endured for its opposition to gay marriage.
Not surprisingly, the cost of chicken is on the rise. February data from the USDA show that chicken prices were up 5% year-over-year and should continue to increase, along with other food costs, for the rest of 2013. (No word on the price of guinea pigs.)
--Jonathan Berr owns a small position in McDonald's. Follow him on Twitter at @jdberr.
Chicken tops the number of choices, but not the consumption.
The burger is still king of sales.
Make mine a burger please. I will have chicken only on occasion. Nice crispy hot chicken wings w/blue cheese dressing are the exception
The only reason I don't support Chick-Fil-A and it has nothing to do with their politcal stance on traditional marriage - it is that I can't seem to get to them at lunch on my lunch break due to the long line....that is it! Food is great, just can't always get to it.
What an erroneous, politically-biased comment! My impression from their much longer lines the week that story broke is that their support of marriage was FAVORABLE publicity for them. For one, I go there much more frequently since then. The noisier opponents of marriage may have viewed it as unfavorable publicity but the dollar votes say otherwise.
Your comment also does not say whether the 12% increase is the total for the system or for same-location sales open more than a year (a common benchmark). Chick-Fil-A has been opening new stores and this likely caused part of the system's increase.
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