Hopefully, it will be a trend – after years of traditional, fast-food chains being pressured into adding healthier menu options, as well as deciding on their own that there was a seat for them at the popular fast-casual table, one has decided to go back to being what it was before, and what it has always been, really: a fast-food joint. According to an article over at WSJ.com by Julie Jargon, Burger King is making the decision to modify…including simplify…its menu, and re-establish itself as a purveyor of sinfully delicious, inexpensive burgers, fries, and the like.
Burger King’s move goes against the grain at two levels: first, as mentioned, the chain has decided to once again embrace the junk food that remains such a guilty pleasure for so many of us, but which has found itself the growing target of a society demanding that its citizens adhere to greater levels of health consciousness. Additionally, the change back reverses the trend toward becoming a so-called “fast-casual” restaurant, a cross between fast-food and casual dining (Chili’s, etc.) that combines the less-formal service atmosphere of a fast-food restaurant with more mature menu options – think Chipotle, for example.
Ultimately, Burger King’s decision is rooted in business considerations, without regard to whatever social statement one might like to construe from it. The simple reality is that after roughly 50 years of being Burger King, the chain began the attempt to also become Salad King, Wrap King, and more, and otherwise tried to reinvent itself after so much time as one of the world’s most famous…and reliable…fast-food restaurants. That kind of move rarely (never?) works, from the standpoint of productive business practices. Such is especially the case when the company does not decide to fully change from one thing to another, but decides instead to be all things to all people – when I think Burger King, I will always think “Triple Whopper with Cheese,” and never, really, anything else. So many of those newer, more “evolved” options that appeared over the recent past were distractions I had to get past as I scanned the menu looking for the most delicious and obscene offerings available, and, evidently, Burger King saw them as financial distractions, as well. In the end, I just don’t know anyone who goes to Burger King for their healthier menu choices, and, apparently, Burger King wasn’t finding a bunch of them, either.
Identity is just about everything in business, and Burger King had, to some degree, lost theirs. Nice to see you guys again.
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