Did Burger King just ask consumers to buy a Big Mac?
Restaurants from the largest chains to mom and pop eateries have been hit hard (re: decimated) since the novel coronavirus began breaking out in countries across the globe. Hard times have heightened competition for customers in a market affected by restrictions on sit-down operations, social distancing requirements and greatly reduced customer counts.
In what would typically be considered a counterintuitive move, Burger King in the UK has issued a statement on social media asking customers to support many of its fast-food rivals including arch-competitor McDonald’s.
The chain’s tweet reads, “We never thought we’d be asking you to do this, but restaurants employing thousands of staff really need your support at the moment. So, if you want to help, keep treating yourself to tasty meals through home delivery, takeaway or drive thru. Getting a Whopper is always best, but ordering a Big Mac is also not such a bad thing.”
The fast-food industry in England has taken hits to the top and bottom line since the pandemic first broke and more recently as cases have gone on the upswing as colder weather sets in. The competition for a share of a now smaller market makes Burger King’s messaging all the more remarkable.
The same, however, can not be said of the American division of the burger chain, according to a CNN report. Burger King in the U.S. recently ran a Halloween-themed promotion that offered a free Whopper to customers who drove by one of “the scariest places on Earth” to get it. The very scary places, as it turns out, are McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Sonic and Wendy’s. To get the free Whopper, patrons confirmed they passed within 300 feet of one of the rival locations using the Burger King app.
Fast-feeders are not the only restaurant operators struggling in the pandemic. A New York Times report published this week looks at the role that eateries play in the social and commercial lives of city neighborhoods and shopping areas, particularly when it comes to attracting younger residents. The U.S. restaurant business has been among the hardest hit industries in the U.S. Yelp figures show that over 32,000 restaurants and 6,400 bars and nightclubs that were open for business on March 1 had closed by the end of August.
- Order From McDonald’s – Twitter
- Burger King wants you to order from McDonald’s – CNN
- If Restaurants Go, What Happens to Cities? – The New York Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your reaction to Burger King’s social media post in the UK and the campaign to encourage business for fast-food restaurants, including rival chains like McDonald’s? Would a similar effort be successful in the U.S.?