Jack in the Box's new Smashed Jack burger sold out in two weeks and is currently impossible to find.
It took two years to develop the burger, which features a ¼-pound smashed-style beef patty.
Chief marketing officer Ryan Ostrom told BI he tried up to 60 different versions of the burger.
It's been eight years since Jack in the Box released a new burger, and the Smashed Jack is already making a huge splash.
The burger sold out earlier in January, with Jack in the Box selling 70,000 in a single day. The chain expected the initial soft launch to last six weeks while its team prepared for the official rollout in February, but they ran out of supplies to make the burger in just two weeks. It's currently almost impossible to find a Smashed Jack.
"No marketing, no advertising," Ryan Ostrom, Jack in the Box's chief marketing officer, told reporters during a media event at the chain's headquarters in San Diego last week. "We just put it on the menus, and we couldn't keep it in stock. We couldn't keep it on the shelves."
It's been a big moment for the chain and its team, which spent two years trying to create Jack in the Box's biggest burger yet.
"We're perfectionists," Ostrom said. "I think there was a year straight of trying different patties, different blends of meat, different types of ways we're going to cook it, how long we're gonna cook it."
Ostrom told BI that he and the chain's kitchen team went through 60 burgers before landing on the final Smashed Jack. And that was on top of trying all the other new menu items being tested and developed, including the chain's upcoming chicken wings and dozens of different shakes and drinks.
"That's the fun part about this job. The downside is we all have to go to the gym like nine times a week," Ostrom said with a laugh. "I'm there every morning — it's not working."
But all those taste tests paid off for the $8 Smashed Jack, which features a ¼-pound smashed-style beef patty, cheese, pickles, grilled onions, and the new "Boss" sauce, all stuffed between a brioche bun.
Ostrom also said there's no "shrinkflation" with the Smashed Jack, noting that the patty is the "biggest" on the chain's menu.
When everyone is going small with their burgers, he added, "We go opposite."
"Put this next to a McDonald's burger," he said.
Ostrom said the Smashed Jack is just one example of how Jack in the Box is always trying new things to stay culturally relevant in a very competitive fast-food market.
"We're like Pepsi and Coke, we don't like each other, we're all going for your stomachs," he said. "We're the underdogs. We're the edgy younger brother."
"This is a fun brand. I've never had fun like this on a job," he added. "We're really trying to push the envelope."
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