Earlier this week, Burger King reported that the chain had sold its 10 millionth rib, a limited-time only product with casual dining pricing. Critics doubted the ribs would sell at the suggested price of $5.69 for a six-piece and $7.19 for an eight-piece order.
When it was announced the ribs had reached that milestone, the company said only that the ribs had done better than anticipated. Now the chain has said the ribs have sold so well, its stores will sell out before the anticipated run date.
A Burger King spokesperson said the chain expects to sell out of the ribs within the next week, and some markets already have. The company cannot identify which markets have sold out because that total continues to change.
Serious Eats reviewed the ribs last week and found them good for quick-service ribs but disappointing when compared to casual dining ribs, which is where the price point puts them. Similar to QSRweb.com's experience, John Edwards found that some ribs fell off the bone while others were tough. He also recommended that Burger King only sell the ribs in markets in the North and West "because the South and Texas are probably going to laugh in your face."
Burger King apparently is laughing all the way to the bank, with the ribs doing well nationwide. "Excitement around the ribs was consistent throughout the entire country," a company spokesperson said.
The riblets are sold with a side of barbecue dipping sauce and are available in three serving sizes, including as a three-piece add-on to a BK Value Meal for $1.99. BK Fire-Grilled Ribs also are available in three-piece serving sizes at a suggested retail price of $2.99, more for a combo meal.
According to a story in Chicago Breaking Business, the company will be cutting short its Fire-Grilled Ribs ad campaign, scheduled to run through June 20, and switching to ads for other products next week to keep from showcasing out-of-stock product since sales were much brisker than test results indicated.
From the story:
The results suggest fast-food customers are willing to splurge for higher- priced items, a promising sign after chains used low prices to lure traffic. It also helps ease Burger King's strained relations with its franchisees, who want to sell more profitable products.
Burger King plans to sell ribs periodically in limited-time offers, with the next run coming after parsing through results, Schaufelberger said.
Christa is editor of QSRweb.com and contributes to FastCasual.com and PizzaMarketplace.com. She has experience in the restaurant industry as well as 15 years as a journalist.