Opinion Brief

Can oatmeal save Burger King?

Faced with declining sales, the home of the Whopper is hoping Quaker Oats can help it keep up with changing breakfast trends

First Starbucks, then McDonald's, now Burger King. Following a fast-food trend, the nation's second largest burger chain has started selling Quaker oatmeal for breakfast, as part of a larger reinvention effort. The home of the Whopper has seen a sharp decline in sales in recent years — in the 2011 second quarter alone, profits dropped 13 percent. In addition to the oatmeal, BK has also launched a new burger ad campaign that focuses on the fresh vegetables, not just the meat, between the bun. Can oatmeal and a healthier image help Burger King get back on track?

Yawn. Burger King is behind the times: "The chain comes a bit late to the oatmeal trend," says Emily Bryson York in the Chicago Tribune. Starbucks began selling oatmeal in 2008, and other chains, like Jamba Juice, quickly followed suit. McDonald's launched its oatmeal nearly a year ago. There's nothing all that new or exciting here.
"Burger King adds Quaker oatmeal to breakfast menu"

But if it worked for McDonald's... For McD's, adding oatmeal to the menu and other healthier items, seems to have paid off, says Allison Linn at MSNBC. In McDonald's last earnings report, oatmeal was credited with boosting U.S. breakfast sales, and, analysts say, the company ranks number 1, above even Subway, for "customer perception of brand value and healthy choice." It seems Burger King is taking note and "realizing that offering an average-tasting burger for a low price may not be enough."
"Some fast food gets a fresh makeover"

And BK has an advantage — brand-name oatmeal: Burger King may be late to the oatmeal party, but unlike its competitors, it's not just serving any old, generic oats. BK is smartly partnering with Quaker Oats, says food consultant Darren Tristano, as quoted at WBEZ, which should help it achieve a "better perception." Ideally, the Quaker brand will persuade customers to pick Burger King oatmeal over other options.
"Oatmeal? The hot item on fast food menus"

Still, it's not what Burger King needs: "People don't go to Burger King or McDonald's for their oatmeal," says analyst Steve West, as quoted by the Associated Press. "They go for an Egg McMuffin." Even if BK sells a ton of oatmeal and smoothies and other new healthy offerings, it won't be enough to rejuvenate Burger King. "They've got to remodel the stores," many of which are looking "very old and rundown."

Recommended

Did Dry January accomplish anything?
Drinking glasses.
Picture of Harold MaassHarold Maass

Did Dry January accomplish anything?

6 amazing homes with domes
House
Feature

6 amazing homes with domes

The Check-In: 48 hours in San Diego, a long-awaited river cruise, and more
A surfer at Windansea Beach in La Jolla.
Feature

The Check-In: 48 hours in San Diego, a long-awaited river cruise, and more

The Week contest: AI pizza
Paris's first robotic pizzeria.
Feature

The Week contest: AI pizza

Most Popular

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained
Hogwarts Legacy logo photo
Briefing

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained

U.S. firm offers Ukraine 2 Reaper drones for $1, plus $10 million in shipping
MQ-9 Reaper drone
Fine Print

U.S. firm offers Ukraine 2 Reaper drones for $1, plus $10 million in shipping

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn)
Punitive politics?

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee