Friday, May 13, 2011

A kick to fast food's buns

The quest for better burgers isn’t leaving the bun behind.

The sandwich upgrades underway at several major fast-food brands focus as much on the bread as what’s between it. The perfect example: Wendy’s, whose buns are about to be buttered.

And toasted, stressed Roland Smith, CEO of the chain and its parent company, Wendy’s/Arby’s Restaurant Group. The chain’s new Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy cheeseburger line will be served on a toasted, buttered bun, Smith explained to financial analysts during a conference call this week. That twist will make the burgers better than the ones sold by Five Guys and In N Out, he asserted.

Indeed, he made that boast at least three times to the investors participating in the call.

Because the chain will install toasters for the burgers, it can also use a buttered, toasted foundation for its new chicken sandwich line, or what Smith called the Gold line.

The sandwiches will also feature what he described as a better fillet, a better marinade, and better breading. Still, he stressed the importance of the new bun in setting the offering apart.

A better bun is also one of the selling points for McDonald’s new premium chicken sandwich. It features what the chain calls a honey wheat bakery-style roll, and is also toasted.

It’s the latest step in McDonald’s march toward better bread. Its premium Angus burger line is similarly served on a bakery-style roll.

Jack in the Box is similarly using what it calls a bakery-style roll for its sirloin burger.

Clearly the fast-food sector isn’t living by the patty alone.

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