Health Concerns: BK Says Fuhgetaboutit!

Discussion
Mar 29, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson


In a place in time when many manufacturers, retailers and restaurant operators are falling over themselves to introduce consumers to the latest and greatest in healthful food innovations, Burger King has said, at least in one instance, “fuhgetaboutit.”


The company announced it is rolling out its Enormous Omelet Sandwich that comes fully loaded with two eggs, a sausage patty, two strips of American cheese and three strips of bacon on a bun. That’s 730 calories and 47 grams of fat in one very big sandwich selling for $2.99 at a BK drive-through near you.


Sherri Daye Scott, editor at QSR, told USA Today, “The critics will still label it food porn. But the average male fast-food customer does not have a problem with this.”


Count Morgan Spurlock, the maker of the anti-McDonald’s documentary, Super Size Me, among the critics. BK should offer a coupon for $5-off the first angioplasty Enormous Omelet Sandwich consumers have to undergo, said Mr. Spurlock.


Fred Pescatore, author of The Hamptons Diet, said the chain is acting irresponsibly by rolling out its new breakfast sandwich. “Eating like this is a step on the way to a heart attack,” he said.


BK’s chief concept officer, Denny Marie Post, disagrees with this characterization. “There are plenty of options on our menu for anyone who wants to make sensible choices,” adding “We’re about having it your way.”


Moderator’s Comment: Does this new offering from BK represent a reversal in strategy for fast feeders? What are your thoughts on BK’s Enormous Omelet
Sandwich?

George Anderson – Moderator

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

19 Comments on "Health Concerns: BK Says Fuhgetaboutit!"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
George Vamos
Guest
George Vamos
15 years 11 months ago

Nice to see that there is a choice out there. Whether I eat it or not is my decision.. Freedom of choice; the American way…as long as we can keep the “obesity” and “they got me hooked” lawsuits out of it. Hope the coffee isn’t too hot.
What ever happened to we make our own choices and we should be responsible for our own actions?
I applaud Burger King. Let me decide what I want.

David Morse
Guest
David Morse
15 years 11 months ago

I’m amazed and thrilled by the reaction today. It looks like I’m not the only one tired of the Health Nazis! I’d go to war any day for our right to get as fat as we like.

Arlene Jones
Guest
Arlene Jones
15 years 11 months ago

What too many fast foods forget is that it’s all about TASTE. If it tastes good, I will buy it. If it’s not healthy, but good, I will buy it. If it has a zillion calories, I will buy it. If I can only have it once a month, then I will buy it once a month.

But if it tastes like yuch, then I try it once and they won’t see my money again. Sadly, too many of the fast food companies have forgotten taste in too many of their products. No longer do we sit and savor the sandwich. Instead, we gulp down tasteless products that are full of calories and our taste buds aren’t satisfied.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
15 years 11 months ago

A major direction change vs. the industry’s trend and media. Coverage strongly suggests consumer research supports BK’s new products. Now BK needs to deliver on the consumers’ expectations.

David Livingston
Guest
15 years 11 months ago

Fast food is a vice like alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling. No one disputes the harmful effects these products have over time. At least Burger King is not trying to candy-coat their products like other fast food companies do. Like the one whose low calorie version is the same meal except you get bottled water instead of soda. I don’t want to buy water at a fast food restaurant. I want a Coke. When I go to a bar to drink, I don’t worry about the nutritional aspects of Jack Daniels. It’s the fast food industry’s financial responsibility to make their food taste good so more people buy it. It’s the individual’s responsibility to monitor their own diet.

Tony Orlando
Guest
15 years 11 months ago

Go ahead and enjoy, because we’re all going to die of something anyway. If the food police think they are going to save us, they are wrong, because we all have free will. My grandfather ate everything under the kitchen sink, and died at 93. This nation is obsessed with mortality, and a little common sense can allow us to live long lives. Smoking and drinking will kill many more people than a BK sandwich. My advice is to have the dessert while you are still around to enjoy it, and let the food police enjoy their alfalfa sprouts and seaweed sandwiches.

Tom Zatina
Guest
Tom Zatina
15 years 11 months ago

Whoooaaaaa!! Talk about pulling in the reins on the nutrition discussion! Almost sounds like something that would appeal to the low carb crowd. Throw away the bun and you still have a meal and a half.

Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
15 years 11 months ago

This reminds of the picture of the entrance to Gimbles which appeared on the front of the New York Times when a misprint offered top coats for $6.90. Asked why they honored the ad, the Gimbles spokesman said, “Do you know of a better way to get our picture on the front page of the NY Times?” So maybe the sandwich has already served its purpose.

With all the discussion about the sandwich, the only mistake I have seen so far is that Burger King has not been clear enough about their other offerings. Hopefully, the sandwich curiosity will generate traffic that spills over to their other products, although if you have the breakfast sandwich, I guess you won’t be hungry again for quite a while.

Ian Percy
Guest
15 years 11 months ago

Since when has ANY business in America set out a marketing strategy driven by self-less concerns for the well-being of people? BK is doing exactly what every ‘smart’ marketer does – run counter to the masses. When people sell, you buy. When they buy, you sell. The only reason fast-food companies got into the counter strategy of things like low-carb fare is because they saw money in it. Now it’s time to counter again. BK would LOVE their new sandwich to be called the porn of fast food – you can’t buy that kind of publicity. Soon you’ll have the others bragging that their ‘hard core sandwich’ has even more calories and fat.

The day we start putting the welfare of people first because it’s just the right thing to do is the day we also ban tobacco or when hell freezes over, whichever comes first.

Michael L. Howatt
Guest
Michael L. Howatt
15 years 11 months ago

Refuting the right for BK to introduce their new sandwich almost sounds like a call for censorship. As usual, if you don’t want to eat it, order something else. At one point in time, everything is bad for us, so who really knows?

Anyone remember how long George Burns lived?

Michele McCawley
Guest
Michele McCawley
15 years 11 months ago

BK is emulating other fast food feeders — not leading the pack. Smaller chains like Hardee’s, Carl’s and Sonic have already tested these waters and found them fine.

BK has had no foot traffic growth since 1997, the number of restaurants has contracted and their growth has stagnated. The new guard figured out that what they were doing wasn’t working — why not try what other chains have found works?

I used to be a marketing manager in the QSR industry: no product gets rolled before it’s extensively tested and no item stays on the menu unless it sells. People, as always, can vote with their wallets whether BK has done the right thing.

Warren Thayer
Guest
15 years 11 months ago

Well, it IS differentiation. And it has gotten them tons of publicity. Will it be in the lineup in two years? Quite possibly. There are a lot of people out there who just don’t care about a healthy lifestyle. As taxpayers, we’ll all be paying for their angioplasties someday. But it is a significant demographic that was not being served, um, “adequately.” This should do the trick. So… a turnaround, with others now copying them? I think it is ground that some will be fearful to tread upon. The potential for backlash among mainstream customers (whoever they are) is real, and it could actually hurt share over the long haul, if the chain becomes known for unhealthy food. It’s a bit of a risk to the chains’ brand equity, if they push this further with other, similar products.

Mark Boyer
Guest
Mark Boyer
15 years 11 months ago

Bravo to BK for sticking their necks out. I’ve seen coverage of the new sandwich all over the media. BK is generating tremendous spin, and the “politically correct, assume no personal responsibility for anything bad that happens to me” crowd is helping spread the word. I am reminded of the Oscar Wilde quote, “The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about.”

Remember that no one is holding a gun to your head making you eat the new sandwich.

Anna Marie Dunn
Guest
Anna Marie Dunn
15 years 11 months ago

Remember, consumers still have a choice – and they know what they are eating!

Michael Richmond, Ph.D.
Guest
Michael Richmond, Ph.D.
15 years 11 months ago

James is right on the money with the Well Curve! Consumers are fragmented into many areas, even within themselves. So, good for BK on big sandwiches and good for Wendy’s for fruit and yogurt. You need to be sure and have offerings for everyone because of the fragmented consumers.

Rupa Ranganathan
Guest
Rupa Ranganathan
15 years 11 months ago
Fugetaboutit is reflective of an attitude and state of mind, hence, however many calories, it is clearly going to have a market. When it has become necessary to call a small cup of coffee “Tall,” it is not surprising to learn about such a new launch from the fast-food giant. While obesity experts continue to send their warning bells to a generally overweight nation, Burger King is cooking to the gallery. Yes, there is a choice. You can just say no to the bread or order something else, and the manufacturer will always argue that it is the customer who is opting in. But, should there be a point beyond which food companies are going to have to watch what they serve? An extreme notion would be to have them post a warning label cautioning the customer visibly and very explicitly about impending heart attacks. Or, should the food marketing associations and food marketers come out with more concrete and plausible efforts in fighting obesity? Or, should these fast-food chains also be asked to have… Read more »
Peter Fader
Guest
15 years 11 months ago

Brilliant move by BK. It’s nice to see a chain that’s deliberately avoiding the usual counterproductive rush towards blandly identical menu offerings. Who needs another icky salad? I wish that other chains would shake things up and try some creative tactics like this. Let the nutrition Nazis get all worked up about the enormous omelet — the PR value for BK is enormous.

And speaking for myself, I can’t wait to try one!

James Tenser
Guest
15 years 11 months ago

Here’s another prime example of the “well curve” principle in action. The “well curve” is an inversion of the familiar bell curve, in which most of the distribution is concentrated in the middle.

Today, just the opposite is true. We have a polarization of consumer behaviors: EDLP on one extreme, luxury on the other; dollar menus on one extreme, $4.00 lattes on the other; fat-free salad dressing on one extreme, 1,400 calorie burger-scarfing on the other.

For mass marketers, there is no longer any safe middle ground that appeals to nearly everybody. Consumers tend to dwell on one extreme of the well curve or the other – and sometimes they switch sides depending on the time of day. For retailers and QSR’s, that’s a lot of complexity to contend with.

As for me – I’ll skip the “heart-attack on a roll,” thank you very much. I’m planning to come out on the upside of the “wellness curve.”

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 11 months ago

BK has struck gold for all the reasons cited. Loads of publicity. Endorsing freedom of choice. Bucking a trend that is politically correct but obviously, based on the fact that the obesity crisis shows no signs of diminishing in the near future, not appealing to the population in general. Providing an escape for those who want to eat what they want to eat when they want to eat it.

There was a burger chain (Hardee’s or Carl’s Jr?) at the end of last year that introduced a new mega-burger with millions of categories targeted at young men who couldn’t care less about being told what was good for them. First results were fantastic from their point of view, with loads of sales. It would be interesting to see whether that has been maintained and if the item is still on the menu. Likewise, watch the BK space in 6 and 12 months from now.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Does Burger King’s Enormous Omelet Sandwich represent a reversal for fast feeders in the trend of offering healthful menu choices?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...