The King is dead. Not the restaurant, but the creepy, manic mascot that Burger King embraced for the last decade or so, has fallen by the wayside. Like Carl’s Jr, Burger King’s powers that be have decided to abandon, or at least stop flaunting, the “let’s may you even fatter” marketing strategy.
So in place of ever-expanding burgers, Burger King has gone back to the drawing board to reach new demographics. To wit: their new fries and the BK Chef’s Choice burger. However, while considering my experience with the burger, some more important things occurred to me. First the review, then the wider observations.
The Chef’s Choice burger features a special sauce, smoked bacon, and a brioche bun. On and “red onions!” cuz apparently that’s gourmet or something. The bun, honestly, has the kind of bread that gets really flat and soggy as soon as it gets in your mouth. It’s not as tacky as it could be, so it doesn’t ruin the burger, but it’s not as hearty or hefty as a burger bun should be. The bacon is very good, although the smoky flavor tended to overwhelm the burger in general. All told, the burger is really rich, but not as cohesive as it should be, given that it was probably studied, marketed, and prodded for the last 18 months. I tried it once on a whim, and once for this article. I likely won’t try it again, since I loves me a Whopper, and the flame-broiled simplicity beats this amalgamation for me.
Oh, and the Chef’s Choice, just like Wendy’s new burgers, comes in paper AND a box which just seems ridiculous. Why that is going to convince me your food is higher quality and/or gourmet baffles me.
As to BK’s new fries, as far as I could tell they’re exactly the same as the old ones only bigger, and therefore mealier. And yet, still not particularly potato-y. Dunno what that means or how it happens, but for me, the fries at BK were never the point. As an accompaniment they are good, probably better than the old ones, but still nothing to write home about when held up against all the other fast food fry contenders.
Observation One: We’ve been here before. Note the picture below. The Chef’s Choice is basically the same burger as the Arch Deluxe, introduced by McDonalds in the latter half of the 1990s. Fancy bun, special sauce, showy bacon (smoked for the King, peppered for the Clown). McDonald’s introduced this option when they were trying to convince the market that they weren’t just Happy Meals and Playlands. You can argue as to whether the strategy worked or not, but a big part of the push was to let the public know that “McDonald’s is for adults, too.” So is this just part of the growing pains of a fast food chain, pandering to core demos, and then widening the scope? Or is Burger King applying 15-year-old lessons in the hopes of capturing something new? Either way, the main thought I have when considering the Chef’s Choice isn’t that Burger King is trying something new, it’s that they’re trying something their competitor tried, and cancelled, more than a decade ago.
If you want to eat healthy foods with little oil, then air fryer might be the best choice for you. Air fryers use very little oil, they basically cook food using high speed hot air that gives the same crispy and delicious taste of deep frying. So if you are health conscious like me, then go for top quality air fryers that have loads of features.
Observation Two: Perhaps I’ve come late to the party, but Burger King is becoming BK. Eventually the signs won’t feature words at all just the initials. This is my prediction. I make it because I realized that there are a half-dozen menu items, Stacker, Chicken Fries, etc, which all start with “BK”. Kid’s club ads in the window had a logo that I assume will one day be the corporate symbol of Burger King.
What drove this home was the giant video screen menus behind the counter. Lots of flashy images and the words Burger King or the present logo were nowhere to be found. Branding is really important, and it struck me as borderline bizarre that the restaurant’s name and/or logo wasn’t, in fact, anywhere on the menu.
So whether the grown-up type burger takes or not, it’s pretty clear that in addition to trying new things (or really old things as the case may be), the King is not just dead, the King is changing, and we may just be seeing the beginning of Burger King’s metamorphosis into a different kind of burger joint, whatever they decide BK is going to be.