To kick off 2015, Burger King is falling back on a basic: super-cheap chicken nuggets. Starting today, Burger King will sell its 10-piece chicken nuggets for $1.49, or 15 cents per nugget. That’s about half that item’s regular price of $2.99, according to Bloomberg, and also cheaper than the rate that McDonald’s sells its 50-piece chicken McNuggets at ($9.99 for 50 or 20 cents per nugget).*
Burger King’s promotion is obviously designed to undercut its direct fast-food competitors. “They’re competing aggressively with McDonald’s, and they’re doing it as a very low price to draw people in,” Darren Tristano, executive vice president at food and restaurant research firm Technomic, told Bloomberg. “The goal is to steal share from the other burger brands around them.”
Just as important, though, is for chains like Burger King to draw back foot traffic and interest from rapidly growing fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle. The red-hot fast-casual sector has pulled customers away from both traditional casual dining chains—think Red Lobster, Olive Garden—and cheap fast-food options. The promise of Chipotle (other than rice, beans, and guac) is a fairly good, quick meal, with more ambiance than you’d get in a McDonald’s or Burger King, but only a slightly higher price tag.
So far, the fast-casual formula has proven incredibly popular and left the likes of McDonald’s struggling to dispel widespread consumer skepticism and appear more transparent about the healthiness of their food. But Burger King, for its part, seems to be hoping that with certain core diners, cheap calories will still win out.
*Correction, Jan. 12, 2015: This post originally misstated that Burger King’s 10-piece chicken nuggets were selling for $1.49, or 10 cents per nugget. $1.49 for 10 nuggets is about 15 cents per nugget.