On November 14, Burger King will debut a new menu item: the BK Italian Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich. Per an email sent to The Takeout, this sandwich will feature “marinara sauce, melted mozzarella cheese and a royal crispy chicken patty all on a savory bun.” Burger King has been on quite a personal journey this year as it attempts to Reclaim the Flame, though this new sandwich might look familiar to some eagle-eyed BK fans.
Burger King’s new Italian Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich, explained
In 2021 Burger King brought back its Original Italian Chicken Sandwich after a seven-year hiatus, People reported. The long, sub-style sandwich hit the menu as part of a two-for-$6 deal alongside the choice of a Whopper, Impossible Whopper, Chicken Fries, or Big Fish sandwich. The Original Italian Chicken Sandwich has come on and off the menu since as far back as 1979. So what makes the new BK Italian Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich different?
Let’s start at the bun, which holds this big chicken-parm-style sandwich together. The OG Italian offered an elongated sesame seed bun; this is the most identifiable characteristic of the original, the thing that separated it from the classics on the menu. The new sandwich comes packaged like the rest of the Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwiches, formerly known as the Ch’King before undergoing a recent renaming and revamp. It’s round, on a “savory bun.” For people who get annoyed by the seeds on their bun, this is a positive development.
Both the OG Italian and the new Italian Royal sandwiches are topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. To recap, it’s a bun swap and a slight difference in chicken patty, “breaded” versus “crispy” being the two descriptors that set them apart.
Burger King’s new menu items are rebuilding the brand
In an effort to “Reclaim the Flame” (the company’s name for its $400 million investment in brand improvements), Burger King announced in September that it would be taking a two-pronged approach to its makeover.
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The first part, “Fuel the Flame,” is putting $150 million toward advertising and digital investments (including the rollout of the new BK tagline, You Rule). The other phase of the plan, “Royal Reset,” will put $250 million toward restaurant technology, kitchen equipment, building enhancements, and high-quality remodels of new and existing locations. Reclaiming that flame does not come cheap.
This maybe-not-so-new sandwich appears to be a savvy way for the company to cater to customers with an already popular item, while building the brand around the Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich, its newest spin on a Popeyes competitor. When this thing hits Burger King locations on November 14, I will gladly dive into a saucy, cheesy chicken sandwich for the sake of comparison.