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Burger King expands its Impossible Whopper test

The chain is adding the product to three markets, despite supply concerns, ahead of a planned national launch.
Photograph courtesy of Burger King

Burger King, as expected, has expanded its Impossible Whopper test to three additional markets ahead of its planned national rollout later this year.

The fast-food burger chain is adding its plant-based Whopper in Columbus, Ga.; Montgomery, Ala.; and its hometown of Miami. The product replaces the beef in its original Whopper with the plant-based product from Impossible Foods.

The company began testing the burger in April in St. Louis and quickly announced plans to expand that test, citing strong early results. “We’re seeing a solid sales opportunity for the business,” said Jose Cil, CEO of Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International, during the company’s first-quarter earnings call last month.

Burger King is looking to inject some life into its business following a slow start to 2019. Same-store sales rose 0.4% in the first three months of the year.

Plant-based meat products have become increasingly popular among fast-food chains, which are getting a sales boost by offering meat-free versions of menu items using products from Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat.

White Castle started selling an Impossible Slider, and last week Del Taco said its Beyond Taco generated both sales and traffic. The popularity of the products sent stock of Beyond Meat soaring following its recent initial public offering.

But Burger King would be the largest U.S. chain to offer a plant-based burger product, with 7,200 domestic locations.

The company is expanding its test despite concerns about Impossible Foods’ ability to supply restaurants with enough product to meet skyrocketing demand. Some local operators have shifted to the company’s rival, Beyond Meat, for its plant-based burger options.

Impossible Foods recently vowed to increase production, amid sky-high demand for its burger substitute.

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