In its seemingly endless quest to bark eternally up the wrong tree as it attempts to revitalize its brand, Burger King has released a new lower-calorie version of its second-rate french fries. While we didn't think it was possible for the company to release a more yawn-inducing product than the halfhearted "French Fry Burger" from last week, here we go again:
Burger King "Satisfries"
The Pitch: "Introducing SATISFRIES™, a new great tasting crinkle-cut french fries [sic] with 40% less fat and 30% fewer calories. Satisfries are cut from real, whole potatoes and fried to tasty perfection — so they're always crispy on the outside, and hot and fluffy on the inside. You heard it here, incredible things are happening to french fries."
Available: Now, for a limited time
In a move guaranteed to give consumers brain-shattering headaches and make them scream on the very cellular level, Burger King has dubbed the new offering "Satisfries," which, for those lacking a background in linguistics, is a combination of the words "satisfy" and "fucking awful."
According to the press release, the chain has managed to develop a "less porous batter" for its fries (though why they are battered in the first place remains a mystery) to keep the potatoes from absorbing excess oil. The resulting french fries promise to deliver 40 percent less fat, and 30 percent fewer calories than their competition at McDonald's, for only 40 cents more than the cost of the chain's regular fries.
The result of all this science? A crinkle-cut french fry exactly like the frozen ones divorced dads buy for their weekend kids at the supermarket.
But how do they taste? The thicker fries are crispy and well-seasoned on the outside, with a fluffy, starchy potato inside that bursts forth impressively which each bite. While they are good (if a little bit institutional-feeling), the biggest problem is that there's not much that's inherently crave-able about them; it's difficult to imagine developing a drunken urge to go and get them at two o'clock in the morning which is, statistically, when most fast food is eaten.* They're better than Burger King's regular weirdo fries, but only marginally, and only for a limited time.
*This statement is not based on statistics.
Which brings us to an important conversation we've been meaning to have for some time now.
Sit down for a second, Burger King. No, over here. Could you take your sunglasses off? Your mother and I would like to see your eyes. NOW, Burger King. We just want to talk to you about something. Something important.
Do you remember in the 1980s, when you were thought of as a high-brow alternative to McDonald's? When your ingredients seemed like something closer to real food, when you managed to get people to buy into the term "flame broiled" as though it were a real thing, and when your chicken sandwiches were proudly oblong, sending the entire flip-top styrofoam package industry into a tailspin? Remember when you tried so hard to make us proud, when we could "Have it your way?"
Those days are long gone, and a lot has changed. You're a bottom-tier fast food company now, Burger King, and your proud return to the top isn't going to be built on such lame offerings as a dollar menu burger with four french fries on it, or new offerings like these "Satisfries" that customers neither asked for nor wanted.
Why not go back to basics? Stop freezing your food. You've got the supply chain to deliver fresh to every store, every week. Stop pre-cooking your burgers, dousing them in Liquid Smoke, and then microwaving them when someone orders them. The gain in efficiency isn't worth the loss in quality. Stop drenching everything in that hot mayonnaise, and 86 all that white iceberg lettuce and those pale, mealy tomatoes.
The Whopper has the foundations of a good burger. You've just got to make it great again, and stop all this grab-assing around town with the likes of Pulled Pork and Sweet Potato Fries. Reinvent yourselves as the fresh-fast alternative to the three-ounce grey pucks across the street at the Golden Arches, and the people will come back.
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You've just got to do the work. We know you can, and we only say these things to you because we love you and want you to live up to your potential. Do it, King. Do it for us.
See also: This Week in Self-Loathing archives