McDonald's rib sandwich, the McRib, has waltzed on and off of the McDonald's menu over the years to great fanfare. Finally Burger King has decided that they're going to enter into the rib sandwich business by introducing their version of the McDonald's icon on Tuesday.
Burger King rolled out a brand new 2013 menu highlighted by the BK Rib Sandwich, which like the McRib, will only be available for a limited time, according to USA Today. The boneless rib sandwich will be served on a sweet bun with BBQ sauce and pickles. Joining the BK Rib Sandwich on the new summer menu will be sweet potato fries, a new BBQ chicken salad and a line of pulled pork sandwiches.
Burger King's vice president of global innovation, Eric Hirschhorn, explained how customers are no longer satiated by burgers alone.
"Our guests have grown to look for a variety of options," Hirschhorn said. "It's not just about beef anymore, but other proteins like chicken and turkey and pork."
In the 32 years since the McRib was introduced, no major chain has ever created a competing sandwich. Burger King came close when it introduced ribs to the menu in 2010 although they did not last long; their $9 price tag doomed them to fail, according to The Huffington Post.
It remains to be seen if the BK Rib Sandwich will gain the same type of cult like following that the McRib has created over the years. One of the more famous episodes of "The Simpsons" revolves around Homer taking to the road to follow Krusty Burger's Ribwich as it shows up on menus across the country in an obvious homage to the McRib. Scott Hume, editor of Burgerbusiness.com, told USA Today about the allure of the McRib.
"I think McRib has such loyal fans that no one else's rib sandwich will hurt it, even if Burger King's is really good," Hume said.
A McDonald's spokeswoman, Danya Proud, seemed to agree with Hume's assessment.
"We know our customers love McRib and we won't disappoint them," Proud said. "It will be returning."
Although when McRib returns it will experience something it has avoided for its entire existence, competition.