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Lessons Learned From 4 French Fries

We had just wrapped up a soccer game in a nearby city and had packed the folding camp chairs and blanket back in the minivan. We had begun the drive back home when my 9-year old son announced that he was ravished. All that running and kicking had taken its toll on him. He was sure that he would never make it home before he perished from hunger.

Now I’m a bargain guy. My idea of splurging is to let my kids order a bonus two items from the Dollar Menu. And it was then that I remembered something that I had seen somewhere. Burger King was offering a French Fry Burger. I was intrigued.

I talked my kids into giving the French Fry Burger a try. In actuality, it didn’t take much talking. After all, how could you pass up a burger with a bunch of French fries on it? From what I could remember, it was a typical charbroiled Burger King hamburger with French fries piled on top of it, sandwiched in between the buns. It sounded so interesting.

We pulled through the drive-thru, ordered the featured offering and waited for what had to be the most intriguing burger we had tasted in a while. The kind, young lady finally handed over the bag and even though I hadn’t actually ordered one, I unwrapped the French Fry Burger to taste it. I tell my kids, I’m sort of like the “King’s Tester” and I have to try their food first to make sure it’s not poisoned.

There was not a pile of French Fries. There were four fries. Four measly soggy fries sitting in the ketchup/mustard mixture. That’s what the strict recipe for the Burger King French Fry burger is. Four fries. No more. No fewer. (Not that you could really put much fewer.)

But it didn’t matter. It was enough to get me to pull over and go through the drive-thru. It got me to order it, mostly because it seemed so interesting. And as it turns out, “interesting” is more important that “number of fries.”

Brand strategist Justin Foster had just told me a couple days earlier that the key to success is often to “Be consistently interesting.” That’s exactly what Burger King had done.

Heck, the French Fry Burger isn’t destined to be a mainstay on the BK Value Menu. It serves a different role. It is to be “interesting”. Next quarter, they’ll put fried pickles on a burger, or have a sweet potato milkshake, or have salt and vinegar fries. Who knows? The goal is to be interesting. It’s what keeps customers come back and gets new customers to be intrigued to try something.

Regardless of what you do, you need to know what your version of the French Fry Burger is. Whether you tweet or manufacture, whether you write or sell, make sure that you are “consistently interesting.”

But really? A sweet potato milkshake?

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He’s done just about everything when it comes to TV. As a lifestyle host, he tracked down celebrities like Martha Stewart and Pat Sajak. As a sports anchor, he has tried his hand at rodeo riding on a runaway horse. As a weather anchor, he drew pictures of animals in the satellite clouds. As a morning feature reporter he has eaten crickets and had liposuction performed on him while talking on camera. He’s worked in cities from Louisville, Kentucky to Kalispell, Montana—from Boston, Massachusetts to Pocatello, Idaho. He currently lives in Utah with his wonderful wife and four perfect children.

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