In such a ho-hum market as fast food, I am constantly amazed at the ridiculousness of its participants. Burger King, the king of switching out new menu items, recently announced it is going to roll out a new limited-time sandwich called the BK Rib Sandwich this summer.
Uh. Ever hear of the McRib?
What is so bizarre is that Burger King believes it can out-innovate the fast food market. Its executives have flat-out said it. But what they call innovation, I call copying.
Let’s look at a couple of other innovative offerings for its 2013 menu: Sweet potato fries and a pulled pork sandwich – both of which can be found at Carl’s Jr. Arby’s have had sweet potato fries in the past. Subway and Hardee’s both have pulled pork sandwiches.
To compete in the fiercely competitive fast food segment, it takes more than trying to out-menu your competition. People don’t eat the McRib sandwich only because they like it. They eat it because it comes from McDonalds and McDonalds has been smart about practically building a mythology around it.
Burger King is currently number three in the fast food market, trailing McDonalds and Wendy’s. To overcome them, BK must stop copying the market leaders and be different and better. Not just in food, but in the way it looks, feels, sounds and acts. Time to get with it.