Wendy's Tops Burger King as No. 2 Burger Chain in America; BK Fans Furious
Yesterday, it was announced that for the first time in 43 years, Wendy's had bested Burger King to become the No. 2 burger chain in America (behind perennial No. 1, McDonald's) based on sales alone.
Even Krusty the Clown -- purveyor of The Ribwich -- doesn't want what the creepy Burger King King is offering.
The Wall Street Journal reported that "Wendy's had sales of $8.5 billion in 2011, compared with $8.4 billion for Burger King." McDonald's, the paper said, blew both out of the water with $34.2 billion in sales in the same time period. This is unsurprising, as the Golden Arches have maintained a growth of 26 percent in the last five years compared to the 9 percent at Wendy's. Burger King flatlined in this area, showing no sales growth at all since 2006.
And although that last figure is difficult to defend, Houston Press assistant music editor Craig Hlavaty was adamant yesterday that Burger King had been swindled out of its No. 2 title. I was just as adamant that it was a long time coming (due in part to my steadfast belief that the Burger King King is the creepiest mascot ever, including the Quizno's rats), and that my own beloved Wendy's was finally enjoying a well-deserved moment in the sun.
Hlavaty and I share a cubicle and argue about a lot of things, including the green fashion shorts I wore to work yesterday and his tendency to interrupt nearly every article I'm writing to show me semi-NSFW photos of Christina Hendricks on the roughly 4,000 Christina Hendricks Tumblrs that he monitors all day long.
But this Burger King vs. Wendy's argument brought out a far more vicious side in us than previously seen. I've transcribed the debate below.
Katharine: How can you possibly like Burger King? It "flame broils" everything, which I'm fairly certain is some kind of fast food industry code for "marinate in grease trap scrapings and grill until rubbery and blackened."
This disparity cannot be stressed enough. By comparison, check out Wendy's.
Craig: Wendy's tastes like someone cooked all their food by putting it under a heat lamp at an old folks' home. In fact, I think that Wendy's is the old folks' home of fast food chains. The only thing a Frosty is good for is satisfying the hunger pangs of a pregnant woman. What can you say about a place whose fries need to be dipped in chocolate ice cream to be palatable, for a woman that is going through a monstrous metamorphosis of building a woman inside her belly, and would eat a sneaker if she had the craving?
Katharine: I'm beginning to think that you've never had the fries at Wendy's. They're second only to Jack In The Box curly fries as the best fast food fries around (yes, that includes the over-salted sticks at McDonald's). They require nothing other than a light dusting of salt and Wendy's ketchup -- a ketchup that can hold its ground with Whataburger's fancy ketchup, I might add.
Craig: The number one fast food chain is McDonald's, and the true and righteous number two is Burger King. Think of McD's as the Beatles, and Burger King as the Stones. Flames building, hot, cheesed beef, and that onion ring sauce, which is good on everything. I could eat the onion ring sauce by itself. If I was hungry on the side of the road and Wendy's was giving out free, homely, tasteless burgers, I would rather eat that onion ring sauce.
This actually happened.
Katharine: It sounds like the only thing BK has going for it -- according to you -- is onion ring sauce. What kind of fast food restaurant builds its empire on a single condiment? BK's fries are gnarly, its patties remarkably tough and its toppings consistently lackluster. And the one in Montrose remains the only fast food restaurant that's a relic of the neighborhood's rougher days, and not in that charming, nostalgic way. It's just plain scary.
Over at Wendy's, its square beef patty is so big and juicy that a round bun can't contain it. Its bacon tastes like real bacon. It uses fancy red onions on its burgers. (You have to pay extra for "good" toppings like that at BK, as with its ridiculously named "Chef's Choice" burgers.) Its 99-cent value menu contains items I actually want to eat, like baked potatoes and a Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe that's really too big to be called a "junior" anything. And even though its chili has beans, it's damn tasty -- especially on top of one of those $1 potatoes.
Craig: BK just tastes right, like when you know that you love someone and will do anything to protect them. BK reminds me of the first time I saw my little brother just after he was born. Mainly because I was six years old and I had just eaten a Whopper on my own since no one was watching me in the waiting room. Husky jeans ahoy.
BK has tons going for it, besides that ring sauce. I celebrate all of their burgers, especially anything involving barbecue sauce, cheese, or any mixture of the two. There is something about that flame-grilled taste that puts me in a land of contentment. At Wendy's they use too much bread and I get a headache. Some of their smaller burgers remind me of glorified store-bought frozen White Castles.