Burger King, You Okay?

·3 min read
Photo:  Ant DM (Shutterstock)
Photo: Ant DM (Shutterstock)

I’m a little concerned about what’s happening over at Burger King, and I just want to know if the King is as lost as he seems. In what appears to be a technical glitch—one that has customers rightfully confused—Burger King recently emailed thousands of customers blank store receipts in both the UK and the US, The Verge reported. Some of the recipients didn’t even remember signing up for any Burger King communication and wondered why their emails were listed with the brand in the first place. Others received multiple blank receipts in their inbox. Burger King told The Verge that the mistake was an “internal processing error.”

This mistake is nothing major in the long run, but taken in the greater context of Burger King’s weird year, it might be an indication that the brand needs to take a breather.

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The Whopper is still king, right?

The first clue that Burger King might be having a bit of an identity crisis came back in February of this year, when the company announced it would be increasing marketing efforts around its flagship burger, the Whopper, decreasing the amount of time it takes to assemble and reducing discounts on the sandwich. The follow-through on these plans was immediate, as the chain pulled the Whopper from the Value Menu.

Burger King also announced that it would pursue “new innovations and extensions” of the Whopper going forward. Viola! The Whopper Melt was introduced just a month later. Unfortunately, the new “innovation” of the classic Whopper was met with many complaints. Customers felt misled by the size of the sandwich, disappointed by the price point, and frustrated by the inability to swap in an Impossible patty as you can with the normal Whopper. For a promotion meant to highlight the glory of the Whopper, this seemed to only bring it down.

Is Burger King discontinuing the Ch’King?

Just this week, we learned that Burger King might be axing a different delicious item on its menu: the Ch’King chicken sandwich. BK, you okay?

Despite initial rave reviewsincluding our own, it seems that Burger King’s Ch’King lineup is on its way out after just 15 months on the menu, reports Chew Boom. The Ch’King, Spicy Ch’King, and Ch’King Deluxe were Burger King’s entree into the fast food chicken sandwich wars, and despite being latecomers, these sandwiches were really good, holding their own own in crispiness, size, and spice.

Unfortunately, sales of the sandwich must not have lined up with its critical reception, because Chew Boom reports that a new line of chicken sandwiches is set to replace the Ch’King later this month. Burger King’s alleged Royal Crispy Chicken Sandwiches roster is rumored to include Classic, Spicy, Bacon & Swiss, and Southern BBQ options. The new sandwiches were already being tested in New York City and Virginia back in May of this year. In its report, Chew Boom appears to imply that the Ch’King, which was hand-breaded, might have been too labor-intensive to produce.

It feels as though in an effort to let people have it their way, Burger King is scrambling to throw options at the wall and crown whatever sticks. I’m not the CFO of the Burger King Corporation, so I can’t say what these revamps are costing the brand. But as a longtime fast food consumer, I have to say that so much of what draws us in is the comfort of the familiar. It takes time for a new menu item to become a new go-to order, and that’s as it should be. Normally I’d encourage growth and development, but in this case, maybe Burger King should chill and let the Ch’King reign a little longer.