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Burger King’s latest Big Mac attack a success here

JONATHAN J. HIGUERA Citizen Business Writer

Sales of the Big King, Burger King’s newest and most blatant assault on McDonald’s Big Mac, are so brisk that some outlets are running out of the sandwiches.

Michael Talarico’s restaurant ran out of meat patties used in the double patty sandwiches last week.

”I tried calling other stores but I just got laughed at,” he said. ”They were in the same boat.”

According to customers at his Burger King at Interstate 10 and Saint Mary’s Road, the price is a big reason for its popularity.

”It has a lot more meat than the Big Mac,” said Tony Martínez, who tried it for the first time yesterday for lunch. ”It’s excellent for the price. I’ll try it again.”

After a slow summer, the deal has business hopping at the Burger King, Talarico said.

”Because of the Big King, sales have surged 12 percent,” said Talarico. ”In a competitive environment, 12 percent is truly a surge.”

Nationwide, Burger King had expected to sell 1.8 million Big Kings a day when it introduced the sandwich two weeks ago. However customers are buying almost 3 million daily, about 70 percent over original projections, company officials said.

The burger is scheduled to sell for 99 cents until Sept. 14.

Talarico said favorable media attention on the Big King had customers asking for it four days before it was available.

It remains to be seen how popular the burger will be at $2.99, including fries and a drink.

McDonald’s is fighting back. On Sept. 5, it began offering a Cajun chicken sandwich for 99 cents. That deal will run for two more weeks.

”To say the messiah has arrived is a little premature,” said José Canchola of the Big King’s favorable reviews. ”It will be interesting to see what happens to the product when the price goes back up. You can sell a lot of anything for 99 cents.”

Business at his five Tucson McDonald’s is up between 10 and 15 percent because of the Cajun Chicken sandwich, he said.

”We all have a shingle out there saying 99 cents,” Canchola said. ”The only intelligent ones are the persons with carts selling hot dogs for $1.50.”

The Big King was built on the Big Mac model: two beef patties, lettuce, cheese, onions, pickles and a special sauce. The Big King contains 5.6 ounces of beef compared with 3.2 ounces for the Big Mac. It also packs a hefty 660 calories vs. the Big Mac’s 560.

This report contains information from The Associated Press.


Tony Martínez says the 99-cent Big King is a good value.

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