Burger King follows in Primanti's footsteps, tops burgers with fries
By Tom Fontaine
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 11:55 p.m.
Have it our way, Burger King.
The fast-food giant on Tuesday said it will begin offering a sandwich next week with a Pittsburgh flavor — a burger topped with french fries for $1.
The “French Fry Burger” will be available through fall, as the Miami-based chain tries to drum up sales and customer interest with inexpensive concoctions.
But there's nothing new about slapping fries on sandwiches in Pittsburgh. Locally -based chain Primanti Bros. has been doing it since 1933. Other local eateries began following suit years ago.
“You're flattered any time anyone tries to copy what you're doing,” said Jim Patrinos, a Primanti's director.
Patrinos said he doesn't view the Burger King offering as competition.
“We use fresh-cut french fries. I don't know if putting frozen fries on a sandwich will be the same,” he said. “I don't know if you'd want to compete with that.”
Burger King did not say whether Pittsburgh's signature fry-filled sandwiches helped inspire its dollar burger.
Two Primanti customers who were leaving the Market Square restaurant had mixed opinions about Burger King's plan.
“I think I'd try one if I was in Burger King,” said Robert Holdcroft, 23, of Bridgeville.
“I don't know,” said his companion, Megan Murtha, 20, of Green Tree. “Probably not (because it's) Burger King, fast-food.”
Burger King's offering doesn't require any extra investment by the chain. It's basically a standard beef patty topped with four of the chain's french fries.
The sandwich is being offered as fast-food chains strive to get customers through their doors, in large part by heavily promoting their cheapest eats. Burger King has offered any two sandwiches for $5 and a Junior Whopper for $1.29.
In the latest quarter, Burger King said sales in North American restaurants open at least a year slipped 0.5 percent.
Staff writer Michael Hasch and The Associated Press contributed.
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