NEW YORK – Burger King is getting rid of its lower-calorie french fries at most restaurants after less than a year.
The Miami-based chain said in a statement that it gave its franchisees the option to continue selling the french fries earlier this week. Only about 2,500 of the approximately 7,400 locations in the U.S. and Canada opted to continue selling them as a permanent item. The others have started phasing them out.
The french fries, called “Satisfries,” were a big bet for Burger King when they were announced in September. But they weren’t as well received as Burger King had hoped.
The name was mocked in some corners, with one website referring to them as “Saddest Fries.” There also is some confusion about their caloric superiority, with a small order still containing 270 calories. A small order of McDonald’s fries, by comparison, has 230 calories because the serving weighs less.
Satisfries also are pricier, costing about $1. 89 for a small order, compared with a $1.59 for regular fries.
And it’s unclear whether customers were aware what made the fries lower in calories. Burger King said Satisfries used a different type of batter to prevent some oil from being absorbed by the potatoes during frying. But the company did not have signs in restaurants explaining the difference between Satisfries and regular fries.
It’s just one of the gambits by Burger King since investment firm 3G Capital took it public again 2012. Other moves have included the return of the “Big King,” which resembles a Big Mac and a “French Fry Burger,” which is essentially a burger with four french fries smashed on top.
The efforts haven’t yet sparked any big sales gains at a time when traditional fast-food chains are struggling. In the latest quarter, sales at established restaurants in the U.S. and Canada edged up just 0.4 percent.
This week, Burger King Worldwide Inc. also announced the return of “Chic ken Fries” for a limited time. The company said it brought back the deep-fried chicken in response to demand it saw online.