Naming In The News

Spicy Baconator

Wendy's Releases the New Spicy Baconator Named by Strategic Name Development

March 25, 2008
By Ken Hoffman
Houston Chronicle

This week I reached out for a new Spicy Baconator, the first extension of the phenomenally popular Baconator line of big, honkin', premium, double-bacon cheeseburgers from the little girl with red pigtails, Wendy's.

The flagship Baconator, a double cheeseburger topped with six strips of bacon, was introduced in June 2007. It did, oh, pretty OK, I guess — selling 68 million in half a year. That got the geniuses in Wendy's Research and Development scratching their heads. How can we top that?

We can top that with sliced jalapeños, that's what!

And jalapeños are just the start. You want spicy? The Spicy Baconator wallops four levels of heat.

Hey, it's getting hot in here. Somebody crack a window.

Here's the blueprint: two quarter-pound all-beef burgers, two slices of pepper jack cheese, chipotle ranch sauce, six strips of hickory-smoked bacon and sliced jalapeños on a special billowy bun.

Total calories: 880. Fat grams: 55. Dietary fiber: a deuce. Carbs: 37 grams (only 6 if you lose the bun). Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $4.69.

Specialty sandwiches are what Wendy's do best. Its Spicy Chicken Sandwich is a solid winner, better than any sandwich the chicken shacks have created. In your face, KFC and Popeyes.

The Spicy Baconator is more than a mouthful — it's a double-fisted handful, too. It's got two big burgers, made with fresh — never frozen — beef. Add two slices of cheese, six pieces of bacon, a scoop o' jalapeños and a messy slather of creamy chipotle sauce, and you might want to forget that chocolate Frosty Float for dessert.

The “Spicy” is there, all right, but it's not so knee-shakin' that you start checking the walls for a fire extinguisher. It's an adult burger for grown-up tastes. Or if you have a foodie kid, give it a try. Children should stick with the plain Baconator and take a test bite of your Spicy Baconator for maybe next time.

The Spicy Baconator definitely ain't diet food. It's pushing 900 calories, and you haven't touched your fries yet. If you want to knock off 150 calories and 12 fat grams without disturbing the integrity of the burger, ditch the chipotle sauce. I prefer ketchup on burgers, anyway. Ketchup is prettier than ranch.

One of the neat things about Wendy's is the service and presentation. Each burger is cooked to order and forked over fresh and hot. None of that nuking up burgers that have laying around for an hour in grease. Excuse me, au jus.

The Spicy Baconator is an action-packed burger, but part of its success has to go to its hip name. It's even cooler if you say it with an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent.

“I'll be back” for another Spicy Baconator tomorrow.