Burger King and Wendy’s menu additions lean into a popular trend


When you want good italian food, you run to… your nearest Burger King?

It sounds ridiculous, but the fast food industry has worked hard to sell the Bel Paese to those who can’t afford to hop on a transatlantic flight or go to a hip Italian restaurant with seasonal menus.

On November 14, Burger King from Restaurant Brands International (RSQ) – Get a free report will launch a new version of the Italian chicken sandwich. Launched in 1979, the breaded chicken-marinara-and-mozzarella-sauce-on-a-bun creation became a generational favorite before being removed from the permanent menu in 2014.

The regular Italian sandwich came back for for a limited time only, and now returns as the Italian BK Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwich. The new differs from the old in two main ways – a breaded chicken breast instead of a chicken patty and a round, rather than the original long loaf.

Marinara, mozzarella and the Italian take on fast food

While the industry trend of calling anything with marinara and mozzarella “Italian” goes back decades, the final months of 2022 have brought him back with a vengeance – Wendy’s (MAGNIFYING GLASS) – Get a free report is also bringing the Italian mozzarella cheeseburger and the Italian mozzarella chicken sandwich in its restaurants from November 15.

Although Wendy’s claim to promise fans “the opportunity to have a true high-end Italian restaurant experience in the world of fast food” was meet To a slight online mockery, Wendy’s Vice President of Culinary Innovation John Li said the menu items stem from the emotional connection many Americans have with Italian cuisine.

“Growing up, my best friend was Italian from Buffalo,” Li told TheStreet during a press call for reporters. “Loved going to their place for chicken parmesan.”

The sandwiches, which come with a piece of fresh mozzarella and a piece of fried mozzarella on a patty of marinated beef or chicken, have also caused some heated debate where to find the best “Italian-style” fast food.

In the same way that the term “Asian food” is often associated by many only with teriyaki sauce and orange chicken and Mexican food is often confused with Tex-Mex, most “à la Italian” that we see on a large scale merge. a country with countless regional cooking styles in mozzarella and marinara.

Fast food in the USA and the real Italy

The confusion and simplification is not unique to the fast food industry, but stems in large part from the way the foods prepared by immigrants from areas like Emilia-Romagna with what they had available to them in a new country have come to represent “Italian cuisine” for the most part. Americans.

“Very few things are drenched in sauce or overloaded with cheese,” said Ali LaRaia, chef at Sosta in New York. said once Business Insider of authentic Italian cuisine. “[…] Everything has a purpose and nothing is too forgiving.”

Careful preparation using local, seasonal ingredients isn’t exactly easy to recreate in a large-scale fast food environment. And yet, the long-standing American love of Italy both as a travel and dining destination and as an immigrant community in the United States gives it prime marketing appeal in the industry.

“I come from a Chinese immigrant family, and our vacations were spent eating things like Peking duck and dumplings,” Li said. [chicken parmesan] is still the type of food that rings holiday bells for me on cold days and I still crave it to this day.”

In the real Italy, fast food has followed its own tumultuous course – a deep connection to its cuisine has led the American pizza chain Domino’s (DPZ) – Get a free report at leave the country last summer after failing to find a clientele.

Chains which, like McDonald’s (MCD) – Get a free report and Starbucks (SBUX) – Get a free reportthat have succeeded in the country have generally marketed themselves as exotic American dishes – although these also adapt to local tastes with desserts like Sundae Frutti di Bosco (wild berries) and Nutella burger.

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