Whoppers And Beer: Burger King’s Latest Innovation

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You seldom hear the word “innovative” used to describe a fast food chain, but there’s really no other way to label some of the things Burger King has attempted in recent years.

First there was the “Subservient Chicken” viral video, which practically invented the form. Afterwards came their “Whopper Virgin” commercials, in which people from remote parts of the world – Thailand, Romania, Greenland – were asked to taste-test the Whopper and the Big Mac (guess which one won?).

Finally, and perhaps their most sensational move yet, was their “Whopper Sacrifice” Facebook campaign, in which users could obtain a free Whopper by “sacrificing” ten of their friends. Facebook quickly pulled the plug, claiming it violated their Privacy Policy, but before they did literally thousands of people were unceremoniously unfriended in favor of a free burger.

And then came beer.[more]

The company’s latest idea is to introduce “Whopper Bars” to the United States (they are already operable in Germany, Singapore, and Venezuela), the first of which will open in February in Miami’s South Beach. The stores will be slightly more upmarket than traditional Burger Kings, but the main difference is that beer is on the menu. This is a direct play for the 30-and-under crowd, which, according to the Bradford Hudson, marketing professor at Boston University, is the restaurant industry’s future growth.

With the industry as a whole in decline – same-store sales have been lower year-over-year for eighteen consecutive months, according to the National Restaurant Association – and the fast food chain still a distant second behind arch-rival McDonald’s, the timing for such a move definitely seems right. If it fails, they can always produce another video.

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