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The Whopperito: yes it’s real

The Whopperito: yes it’s real

Some have said Burger King will try anything to attempt to stay relevant in the fast food wars. Those folks may be right. The latest gambit? The Whopperito. While Tex-Mex joint Chipotle announced it would be debuting a burger-specific brand, BK decided to just combine the two concepts into a single entry.

Specifically, the Whopperito is ground burger meat combined with queso and wrapped in a tortilla. Sounds tasty, right? Well, it’s interesting, because what should consumers expect? Are they getting a spicy version of the Whopper or a Whopper-flavored burrito?

A Blend Of Something Old and New

Any food fusion idea has to lean one direction or another in order to keep the loyal fans while also bringing in new diners. It’s a fine line between meeting expectation and offering something new. Too much in either direction and you risk either alienating current fans or disgusting potential new customers.

The concept works in more than just food. Any time you add something new to your product or service menu, especially a gimmick item nobody is really looking for, you take (at least) two considerable risks. First, you are risking investment in testing, R&D, and advertising for a rollout that might turn off more people than it brings in.

More importantly, though, you are risking being seen as an imitator rather than an originator. For example, if I were to ask you which fast food joint mixes beef with cheese and wraps it in a tortilla, you’re not thinking BK, right? Taco Bell, of course, or maybe that Tex-Mex iteration that’s been seen in some Hardee’s restaurants.

Whopperito Could Be A Big Win or A Big loss  

If BK’s Whopperito is not quite as good as Taco Bell’s typical beef burrito, then the chain will have more than a cash loser on its hands. They can expect to be roundly decried – clowned – for trying to be something they’re not, because they “can’t win” doing what they do best. They are the “king” of burgers, after all, right?

There’s also the second-tier risk question. Why? Why are they going burrito? Nobody is rolling up to BK going, “let’s get some tacos!” They’re already at Taco Bell or Chipotle. They’re at BK for burgers and fries. Onion rings, maybe. So, why take the risk of disappointing fans and setting yourself up for lampooning, especially when the golden rule in restaurants is “keep the menu simple” and “stick to what you’re best at.”

Maybe, just maybe, the King has decided to offer his own personal Bronx cheer to the trend of other fast food joints trying to go “healthy.” After all, when it comes to junk food, what’s more, “comfort-max” than a cheesy, beefy burrito?

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