Burger King rivals spark hot dog war on Twitter

Burger King fuels hot dog war with rivals
Burger King fuels hot dog war with rivals

Burger King may believe it's the new top dog in wieners, but established rivals don't think the chain's just-launched franks can cut the mustard.

Convenience store behemoth 7-Eleven and restaurant chains Wienerschnitzel, Checkers and Rally's have all come forward with special hot-dog deals and social media mud-slinging efforts in the last week, hoping to keep a foothold in the wiener market.

"They took a shot of coming into our backyard and we're not going to have any of it," Rick Silva, CEO of Checkers and Rally's, told CNBC.

Checkers and Rally's — both owned by the same company — temporarily decreased the prices of their own hot dogs to 79 cents for a classic dog and 99 cents for a chili dog through March.

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Burger King declined to comment.

Its Classic Grilled Dog is slated to retail for $1.99 for a single hot dog, while the Chili Cheese Dog will cost $2.29.

"Burger King is late to the party and they are over-priced," Terri Snyder, chief marketing officer of Checkers & Rally's, told CNBC, explaining that the burger giant is likely to pour millions of dollars into advertisements in the coming months, opening up space on social media for a conversation about hot dogs.

Checkers and Rally's, which has more than 800 restaurants nation wide, has competed against fast food giants like McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King for years, particularly in the burger sector. Silva isn't worried about the competition, however, noting that his brand has been selling hot dogs for more than 30 years.

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Others are similarly playing hot dog offense.

"While we relish the addition of newbies to the hot dog game, we're confident they have a long way to go to catch up with 7-Eleven's All-American hot dog," 7-Eleven said in a statement.

The convenience store chain, which has been hawking hot dogs for more than 40 years, has been heavily promoting its Big Bite dog and Big Gulp combo, which costs customers $2. According to the company, more than 80 million Big Bites are sold each year.

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Fast food chain Wienerschnitzel has been more tame on Twitter, preferring to let the "war" take its course.

"I think it's funny that those guys are going after each other," Doug Koegeboehn, chief marketing officer for the company told CNBC. "We aren't really worried about it."

Koegeboehn noted that Wienerschnitzel's goal is to take care of their current customers and thank them for their loyalty, offering a free chili dog to all customers with any purchase at the restaurant through the end of February. Don't just waltz in expecting a free dog, though. You'll need to print a coupon to snag this deal.

"Burger King is just picking up an Oscar Meyer dog, picking up a Kraft chili and Heinz ketchups and mustards, so there really isn't anything special there." Koegeboehn added. "It's what anybody can make."

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While several fast food chains have hopped on social media to tackle the burger giant, Sonic — a major hot dog seller with more than 3,500 restaurants — seems to be ignoring Burger King's big push into the market.

In fact, the fast food chain has only tweeted twice about its hot dogs since Burger King revealed its plans in early February.

"Hot dogs have been part of Sonic's menu for more than 60 years," Christi Woodworth, vice president of public relations for Sonic, told CNBC. "We continue to promote them in ways consumers respond to, but not in any direct response to a competitor's promotion."