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Lower-fat French fries won't be sold anymore in most Burger King restaurants.
About two-thirds of Burger King Worldwide stores in the U.S. and Canada are phasing out the fries, dubbed Satisfries, that were introduced less than a year ago. Still, 2,500 locations will continue to offer them as a permanent menu item, the Miami-based company said in an e-mailed statement.
When they were first sold, Burger King said customers would determine how long Satisfries would stay on the menu. The fries, which are designed to absorb less oil, have been sold to more than 100 million people, the company said.
"Earlier this week, franchisees in North America were given the option to continue offering Satisfries in markets where this game-changing product continues to perform well," Burger King said.
Burger King introduced the lower-calorie fries in September as a way to help boost its health image and attract more nutrition-conscious diners. A small box of the crinkle-cut fries has 270 calories, 11 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium. Regular French fries have 340 calories, 15 grams of fat and 480 milligrams of sodium.
Fast-food companies have been competing to draw Americans with new fare and discounted items. Wendy's Co. in June brought back pretzel buns, while McDonald's Corp. recently introduced a $2 jalapeno burger. Burger King said earlier this week it would again sell breaded chicken fries after customers took to Twitter and Facebook to request them. A nine-pack has 290 calories, 17 grams of fat and 780 milligrams of sodium.
It isn't always easy to sell healthful fare at fast-food joints. At McDonald's, salads make up 2% to 3% of sales in the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Don Thompson said last year. They're not a growth driver for the chain that's recently advertised burgers, he said.
Healthy items at fast-food restaurants tend to reach a "very narrow audience" since they're not what consumers visit those eateries for, said Bob Goldin, exec VP at Chicago-based researcher Technomic Inc.
"French fries are an indulgence, just like ice cream," Mr. Goldin said in an interview. "You don't eat them if you're worried about your diet."
Earlier this month, Burger King reported that revenue fell 6.1% to $261.2 million in the second quarter. Same-store sales in the U.S. and Canada rose 0.4%. The company has been trying to introduce fewer new items to make its kitchens faster and less complex.
Burger King has about 7,370 stores in North America.