Social media has been buzzing with chatter over the latest clever creation by the marketing and culinary teams at Restaurant Brands (QSR) Burger King division. The Whopperito -- which takes the ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles from the chain's signature Whopper burger and slathers on some cheese sauce and wraps it in a giant tortilla -- launched nationwide Monday for a limited-time. Priced at $2.99, the Whopperito takes aim at the late-night -- often drunken -- crowds that pile into Yum! Brands (YUM) Taco Bell division for some cheap Mexican-inspired chow. Ridiculous-sounding food mashups are nothing new to Burger King, who has used them successfully over the past year to drive traffic in the always competitive fast-food space. In July, the chain launched Mac n' Cheetos, which is a portable combination of mac n' cheese covered with crispy Cheetos flavor. In April, the company took its popular chicken fries rings nationwide. These more appetizer-like product launches came on the heels of a major hot dog platform roll-out in February across all of its 7,150 North America locations. And in March it unveiled the Angriest Whopper, a burger with a red bun, jalapenos and hot sauce. Weird fast-food seems to be working for Burger King. Same-restaurant sales at Burger King's U.S. business were unchanged in the second quarter due to the broader slowdown in the fast-food industry thanks to a shaky economy that sent people back to eating at home. But, the results outpaced many of the company's closest competitors. In the first quarter, same-store sales rose a solid 4.2%. Wall Street has rewarded Restaurant Brands for its outside the box thinking. Shares of Restaurant Brands have gained 27% this year over the past 12 months, out-performing the S&P 500's 7.1% increase. TheStreet reviewed the Whopperito inside a downtown Manhattan location. Although it wasn't life-changing and lacked the creativity of prior launches such as Mac n' Cheetos and chicken fries, the Whopperito was edible. And for the price, especially compared to a Chipotle (CMG) burrito that could fetch over $10 depending on location, the Whopperito will likely find a following for as long as it's available.
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