(Adds dropped letter to association name in paragraph five)
* $1 double cheeseburger to cost $1.19 in April
* Burger King had planned to end $1 promotion
* Will instead sell $1 double burger with one cheese slice
LOS ANGELES, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Burger King Corp BKC.N is taking a page from its bigger rival McDonald’s Corp’s (MCD.N) playbook and replacing its $1 double cheeseburger with a $1 double burger with one, rather than two, slices of cheese.
The new $1 double burger called the BK Dollar Double will debut on April 26, six days after the company will raise the price of the double cheeseburger to a suggested price of $1.19, Burger King said on Wednesday.
Burger King and McDonald’s have successfully used $1 burgers to lure diners into stores. McDonald’s raised the price of its popular double cheeseburger from $1 to a suggested $1.19 in December 2008.
Burger King recently signaled plans to end the $1 double cheeseburger promotion, which boosted traffic but angered franchisees, in the spring and to replace it with another item.
The promotion prompted the National Franchisee Association to sue Burger King late last year in Miami federal court. The association alleged that the company did not have the right to enforce maximum pricing rules.
Fast-food companies use low-priced food like $1 burgers to lure diners into restaurants, but if those items are priced below cost, franchisees can suffer.
That’s because franchisees pay royalties to the parent company based on overall sales. While $1 menu items can boost traffic and boost sales, restaurant operators can lose money if too many of those sales come from money-losing items.
The company declined to comment on a Dow Jones report that it also plans to test a higher price for its $1 Whopper Jr.
Shares in Burger King shares were up 1 cent at $18.30 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; editing by Gunna Dickson)