Burger King and Wendy’s have turned up the heat on their value menus with spicier sandwiches as their last limited-time offers of the year, continuing the menu innovation the major burger chains have shown around the $1 price point in the last quarter of 2013.

Miami-based Burger King has rebranded its value menu as the King Deals lineup and added two new $1 sandwiches to it: The Rodeo Crispy Chicken and the Rodeo Burger. The new sandwiches — which combine either a crispy chicken fillet or a beef patty with onion rings and a sweet, spicy barbecue sauce — will be available for a limited time.

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With the inclusion of the Rodeo sandwiches, the King Deals menu now has more than 20 items across breakfast, lunch and dinner that start at $1, according to Burger King.

“We’ve seen an incredible response from our guests with our $1 menu items,” Eric Hirschhorn, the brand’s chief marketing officer for North America, said in a statement, “and we want to continue creating great-tasting products that don’t sacrifice on taste.”

Liz Geraghty, vice president of brand marketing for Wendy’s, gave a similar statement last Monday about the Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken sandwich and the Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger, which the Dublin, Ohio-based chain added to its Right Price Right Size value menu for 99 cents.

Burger King's new sandwiches are topped with onion rings and a sweet, spicy barbecue sauce.Like Burger King’s new sandwiches, Wendy’s limited-time offers start with either a crispy chicken fillet or a beef patty, then they include Pepper-Jack cheese, jalapeños and a spicy sauce.

“We know consumers will love these new choices because they don’t have to sacrifice,” Geraghty said in a statement. “They can get premium ingredients and great taste, all for 99 cents. These new Right Price Right Size Menu items deliver a bold-spice flavor.”

The two chains’ spicy sandwiches cater to a growing consumers preference for bolder flavors found in the 2013 Flavor Consumer Trend Report from Chicago-based Technomic Inc.

The market research firm found that 54 percent of consumers surveyed said they prefer very spicy foods and sauces, an increase from 48 percent who said so in 2011 and 46 percent who indicated that preference in 2009. Spicy was also among the most popular flavor descriptors in Technomic’s report, with 52 percent of participants identifying it as “appealing” or “extremely appealing.”

Quick-service hamburger segment leader McDonald’s also has spicier flavors on its Dollar Menu & More, which replaced the Dollar Menu in early November. That value menu includes the BBQ Ranch Burger, Buffalo Ranch McChicken, and Bacon Buffalo Ranch McChicken sandwiches for price points around $1 to $2.

Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s operates or franchises about 35,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries, including more than 14,000 units in the United States.

Burger King has 13,000-plus restaurants worldwide, with more than 7,400 units in the United States and Canada.

The vast majority of Wendy’s 6,500-plus restaurants in 28 countries are located in the United States.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN