Burger King plans to roll out new-and-improved French fries next week, as competition from rival fast-food chains rises.

As part of the comprehensive menu enhancements put into place by the new owner 3G Capital, the new fries offer a thicker cut of potato, which has a more fluffy, wholesome flavor on the inside and is golden-brown and crispy on the outside. The added coating ensures that the fries remain hot for a longer time. They also have 20 percent less sodium than the previous fries.The fries are cooked in trans fat-free vegetable oil and do not contain animal products, Burger King said. 

The new fries will be introduced in about 7,000 Burger King restaurants across North America by Dec. 5, the company said. To help promote the debut, the chain is planning to offer a free small value portion of fries to customers on Dec. 16, with no purchase necessary.

With the launch of our new fries, the home of America's favorite burger now has the best fries in the business, said Leo Leon, Vice President, global innovation, Burger King Corp.

The new fries will be available outside the United States in 2012.

Burger King was acquired by the private investment firm 3G Capital in October 2010. Other new items that Burger King has introduced since the new ownership took place include BK Toppers, Stackers and Mini lines, a Stuffed Steakhouse burger, revamped chicken tenders, Quaker oatmeal, soft serve ice cream and more.

For the 12,400-unit Burger King, the success of the new fries could be key factor in maintaining its position as the No. 2 burger chain after McDonald’s.