Please No, Burger King
There is no joy in reporting whenever a restaurant unveils yet another gut- and waistline-busting burger, but here it is: the new Double Quarter Pound Burger from Burger King. That’s two patties, more than a half pound of ground beef, for a recommended price of $5.39. Let’s hope other burger brands won't be baited into another caloric arms race, which wouldn’t reflect well on a category buffeted by so-called “better burger” competitors.
In an unusually pert press release dripping with the personality that’s become the norm in QSR marketing, Burger King said its new burger is the result of 60 years of grilling expertise. Amusingly, it closed the press release by saying. “With sympathy, Burger King Restaurants.”
Of course, I understand the logic of giving customers what they want, but it was only a couple years back when we saw the climax of the last such arms race that culminated in sex-based ads from Hardee’s that are still shocking in retrospect.
It was right around that time, about two years ago, when many quick-service brands developed their sharp, witty online personas. In my opinion, these snarky Twitter and Facebook personas have been remarkably effective at making older franchised restaurant brands look hipper, fresher and more relevant to a younger demographic.
Aside from such frosting, several brands have also taken concrete steps to make legitimately positive changes, like reduced packaging and waste, more efficient restaurants, more humanely produced ingredients and this most recent nugget from McDonald’s announcing that, by 2025, all of its packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources—with a goal of having recycling available in every one of it’s restaurants.
“As the world’s largest restaurant company, we have a responsibility to use our scale for good to make changes that will have a meaningful impact across the globe,” said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer. “Our customers have told us that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like us to address. Our ambition is to make changes our customers want and to use less packaging, sourced responsibly and designed to be taken care of after use, working at and beyond our restaurants to increase recycling and help create cleaner communities.”
As countless studies have shown, that stuff matters, especially to younger consumers who tend to do a little research before enthusiastically attaching themselves to their favorite brands.
From this same vein of self-confident brands, however, also comes BK's viral video explaining net neutrality—very well done and effective.
However, from the high horse that is this aging millennial’s soap box, I’d argue that appealing to your customer base’s most wolfish desires isn’t a winning long-term strategy. Then again, there’s probably a reason I haven’t found myself recruited to be the CEO of an international restaurant brand. Not yet, at least.