Burger King’s 4-Cheese Whopper has always been a comfort food to me, with its quarter pound flame-grilled beef patty topped with a medley of American cheese slice, cheddar, Monterey Jack and mozzarella. But something’s different: there’s another cheesy ingredient in my burger – a crunchy contrast to the melted and gooey four-cheese goodness that I am familiar with. Sandwiched inside the regular 4-Cheese Whopper are sticks of cheddar jalapeño-flavored Cheetos.
“We were looking for extensions for our flagship 4-Cheese Whopper. Last year, we added bacon. This year, we played around with other Cheetos flavors before ending up with the cheddar jalapeño,” Burger King Philippines Brand Manager Christopher Punsalan told Manila Standard.
“Cheese lovers would love our latest offering with its additional crunch and texture, plus the jalapeño flavor gives our burgers that extra kick,” he added.
It took Burger King Philippines three months to get approval for the co-branded product, which will be sold for the next three months (may be extended depending on market response) with an additional P10 premium to the original price of the 4-Cheese Whopper.
Co-branding creates a unique opportunity for menu innovation, which helps both brand partners stay fresh in consumers’ minds by leveraging two products that people are already familiar with separately. Picking the right brand to partner with is the first, if not most critical, step to co-branding, as the relationship must positively affect both brands.
Last year, Burger King also released in the United States its Mac n’ Cheetos – sticks of macaroni and cheese deep friend in Cheetos dust, mimicking Cheetos Puffs. One may think the bizarre food mashup is just a novelty, but the fast food giant brought back the viral menu item this year due to “popular demand.”
And, Burger King is not alone in embracing this trend – Kentucky Fried Chicken introduced for a limited period its crispy cheese chicken topped with bits of Leslie’s Clover Chips while Taco Bell used the snack-aisle favorite Doritos as taco shell.
“People want to try new things, to experiment with new flavors. Co-branding is becoming a trend – combining products that traditionally would not go together,” Punsalan said.
The Cheetos 4-Cheese Whopper, however, will not be available for delivery as the Cheetos sticks will already be soggy by the time the burger reaches the client. “We will allow this for takeout, but with a gentle reminder to our customers to eat the burger immediately,” Punsalan said.
Aside from its “cheesiest” burger to date, Burger King is also rolling out three milkshake flavors—creamy vanilla, rich chocolate, and strawberry dreams.
“At the onset, we felt we should start with the basic milkshake flavors. We can add other flavors, eventually,” Punsalan said.
“Burger King is keen on implementing efforts to reinvent our products. One of the many ways is to add new variations to satisfy the cravings of our consumers. And as Burger King continues with these efforts, we hope to bring milkshake in the Philippines this year, to complete that ‘indulgent American burger experience,’” added Jo Anne Tan, marketing head of Burger King Philippines.
For the milkshake, which will be a mainstay on Burger King’s menu, the company had to acquire machines at more than P70,000 each for most of its 78 stores across the country. The investment reflects the quick-serve chain’s bullish outlook in the country.
“We aim to open our 100th store next year. There remains a huge growth area in the market for Burger King,” Punsalan said.
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