Goodbye, Burger King. Hello, Burger Queen. Wendy’s is about to overtake Burger King as the No. 2 fast food chain in US sales, according to a new report from market research firm Technomic. If that doesn’t sound momentous to you, consider that it’s the first time the big three burger chains have switched order since Wendy’s was founded in 1969, the Wall Street Journal points out. What’s more impressive: Wendy’s sales—expected to be $8.42 billion this year—will come from around 5,800 restaurants, compared to roughly 7,200 for Burger King. How far behind will Burger King be? About $53 million.
Wendy’s has revamped its menu this year, making its burgers thicker, putting sea salt on its fries, and throwing a variety of leafy greens into its salads. That’s gotten more customers through the door, even as prices rose. Burger King, meanwhile, has been mired in management shuffles, hasn’t advanced its menu, and has watched the recession pummel its young-adult customers. McDonald's, incidentally, has nothing to fear from either chain—it has more restaurants than both combined, and four times the sales of either. (Read more Wendy's stories.)