*Not all facts presented can be tied to actual facts."French Fry Burger" from Burger King
The Pitch: "A value menu item that combines fries into the meal priced at only $1. Savory flame broiled beef patty topped with crunchy BURGER KING® French fries, crisp lettuce, ketchup and creamy mayonnaise all on a warm toasted sesame seed bun."
Available: Now through Fall.
If you couldn't navigate the hopelessly complicated recipe that Eric Hirschhorn, Chief Marketing Officer just laid out, we'll help explain: It's a little hamburger with four french fries laid on top of it, then buried in hot iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise (Burger King's signature finishing move). It's an item that must make a ton of sense to the Burger King number crunchers: Take ingredients already available at the chain, smush them together in some vaguely new way, take intentionally blurry Instagram photos to generate Internet buzz, and profit!
These all feel like old ideas, which is becoming a problem for Burger King, which has now slipped to third place behind McDonald's and Wendy's in the fast food wars. The last time the company was a part of any national conversation was the LAST time they resurrected an old idea, in the form of the creepily-brilliant 2005 "Wake Up With the King" campaign, which was itself a twist on an idea the company had already explored in the 1970s and 1980s. Other recent "innovations" are even less inspired, including the nationwide roll-out of sweet potato fries, "Buffalo" chicken strips, and a McDonald's McRib knockoff. Revolutionary, these menu items aren't.
So how does this sad little also-ran of the burger world taste?
The hamburger itself is small, on a poppyseed bun, loaded up with lettuce, ketchup, and mayonnaise, and of course, those four little french fries. The burger itself isn't necessarily bad, especially when you focus on how few food options a dollar will actually buy you these days. The fries aren't much of a factor in terms of taste or texture, offering only a few extra ticks of caloric energy in exchange for your hard-earned dollar.
It's certainly better, however, than a freezer-burned Tina's "Red Hot Beef" burrito, a package of ramen noodles cooked without the flavor packet, or a worthless piece of fruit. It's just hard not to feel a little bit more depressed, when it's all over, than you were when you started.