Burger King announced Tuesday morning that it would be overhauling its coffee service this week, adding 10 new drinks, including lattes, to the menu for the first time.
Burger King lattes will retail for upwards of $2.29. One of the country's biggest burger chains, Burger King will also be serving a "Smooth Roast" coffee brewed by Seattle's Best for $1 a cup, plus several kinds of iced coffee for $1.49 and up. USA Today adds that Burger King may also start selling cappuccinos at some point in the not-too-distant future.
The announcement comes just days after it was revealed that Denny's was revamping its coffee offerings, switching out its old beans for new ones in several different varieties. I don't think it's going too far out on a limb to posit that there might be something of a trend here.
Both fast food chains are probably inspired, at a basic level, by McDonald's, which has had massive success with its McCafe line of coffee drinks. The Golden Arches sell more coffee than any chain in the country except Starbucks. Coffee sales are rising, while soda sales are dropping, so it makes sense that other fast food chains would try to get in on the (highly profitable) action.
On the other hand, Burger King isn't currently as well-known a breakfast destination as McDonald's or Denny's. (Can you name a Burger King sandwich as iconic as the Egg McMuffin or the Grand Slam?) By and large, people drink coffee in the morning. So unless the new Burger King's coffee is so good that it draws people into the stores in the a.m. on its own merits, it may wind up being a tougher sell than Burger King is anticipating.
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America's Drive-In rounds out the top 10 with U.S. revenues of $3.6 billion.
KFC, the biggest chicken vendor in America, comes in ninth with revenues of $4.7 billion, though there were 107 fewer outposts in August 2011 than there were the year before.
8. Pizza Hut
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/pizza-hut-ads_n_911106.html" target="_hplink">Good ads</a> equal big revenues for the biggest pizza chain in America. Pizza Hut took in a solid $5.4 billion in 2010.
7. Dunkin Donuts
America runs on Dunkin' to the tune of $6 billion a year -- that's almost $20 for each and every person in the country.
6. Taco Bell
2010 U.S. revenues of $6.9 billion make Taco Bell the biggest Mexican restaurant chain in the country.
Starbucks may have had a few hiccups <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/13/starbucks-bistro-boxes_n_897768.html" target="_hplink">when it comes to introducing food</a>. But its success in beverages has propelled American's biggest coffee purveyor into fifth place among fast food chains, with 2010 revenues of $7.6 billion.
Wendy's fries may be <a href="http://www.slashfood.com/2011/04/20/wendys-fries-vs-mcdonalds-fries-taste-test/" target="_hplink">number one</a>, but its revenues aren't there quite yet.
3. Burger King
Number two burger chain Burger King was sold for $3.26 billion to 3G Capital in 2009. 2010 revenues of $8.6 billion make that sound like a deal to us! (We know, we know, there's a difference between revenues and profits...)
Subway has the most outlets of any fast food brand; it expanded that total by 816 in the past year alone. But because each store is relatively small, revenues, at $10 billion, pale in comparison with those at the number one chain.
With revenues standing at a whopping $32.4 billion in 2010, the Golden Arches aren't being dethroned any time soon. What's surprising about its success is that per store sales at McDonald's are bigger than those even cult-ish brands with fewer outlets. With $2.4 million <em>per store</em>, they're second only to Chick Fil-A, which fans travel miles to visit.