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Burger King


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#31 elyse

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:57 PM

it certainly ain't this, but its flavor is pleasing to some.

Yum. Where was this burger, and why wasn't I there?

#32 elyse

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:02 PM

So... what fries taste good cold?

#33 tommy

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:10 PM

So... what fries taste good cold?

these. :biggrin:

#34 elyse

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:12 PM

How cold are we talking? I'm hungry.

#35 friedclams

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 10:41 PM

I worked at BK corporate HQ in Miami for 5 years in the 90's...
I was part of the team creating their "restaurant of the future"....

many of the concepts we proposed were never implemented (for lots of reasons) but one of our tasks was to determine if we could change the speed of service profile for the whopper... BKs "have it your way" concept was causing each customized sandwich to be delivered slower than McD was providing their product to the customer and the theory was if we could deliver faster we could drive sales higher.

In the on-site food lab many different methods were designed and tested to continue to make a flame broiled sandwich (NOTE: this will ALWAYS continue as the primary differentiation between BK and its fast food competitors) with a high flavor profile (NOTE: relative to competitors products) faster. These tests included changes in the prep table design, change in broiler design, change in whopper component design (food engineering, eg, fast melting cheese), and analysis of meat holding techniques.

Unless you've worked in a BK kitchen, you may not realize that there is a steamer/holding area as Fat Guy begins to describe. Prior to our testing ALL meat was flame broiled in small batches based upon projected traffic flow (restaurant manager as the boss over this process) and held in small batches in plastic containers at the prep table. The hold time maximum was I believe 10 minutes before wasting/trashing the patty. Some whopper sandwiches were premade during rush times as some customers never asked for custom sandwich builds.

We tested holding the patties longer, holding the prepared whopper longer (than 20 min op allowance) in the chute, holding the patties in the plastic container IN THE STEAMER, microwave times for patties, microwave times for sandwiches, etc. Testing was performed by blind taste panels AND with expert food technologists in the lab. I participated in MANY taste tests (luck? of the job... too bad I never worked at Peter Luger as a steak tester..lol)...

The results at the time showed that NO MATTER WHAT WE DID to the patty or sandwich, because a whopper is chock full of so many ingredients, the tasters could RARELY tell whether the meat was freshly broiled or kept in a plastic holding tray in or out of a steamer. The steamer however did add warmed over meat flavors decreasing the flame broiled taste of the meat. Remember the objective was to hold more patties longer independently or as built sandwiches and decrease waste patties (the most expensive component). At that time one of the operations methods we recommended was keeping small batches (under 10 patties) in the steamer for up to 20 minutes before making a sandwich and then up to another 20 minutes in the chute.

I can't speak for current BK operating procedures. Every BK restaurant manager (corporate or franchisee) must keep to current BK operating procedures which sometimes slip during very busy or very slack times.

I can SUGGEST to every potential BK customer to ASK TO HAVE THEIR WHOPPER "OFF THE BROILER" a too little used phrase these days which FORCES your sandwhich to be built with a patty freshly broiled and not held. NOTE that BK hasn't advertised this or have it your way sandwiches recently, a function of marketing and speed of service competitive necessity.

If one orders an OFF THE BROILER whopper and an off the chute whopper and removes the toppings from each and does an A/B taste test between the patties, the off the broiler patty will have the flame broiled taste profile as advertised whilst the off the chute/held patty will have warmed over steamed meat flavors. Remember this isn't chopped Peter Luger steak we're testing... at one time BK's meat was fresh not frozen and sourced only from the USA not Austrailia or other countries.

Most people order the whopper for the total flavor profile of the complete sandwich and NEVER take it apart for separate component tasting. Under such circumstance one would hardly call the tomatoes flavorful either.
I could go on about the other toppings but I won't....

If you must have BK just remember to ALWAYS order OFF THE BROILER :smile:
NOTE: some of the young kids behind the counter may look at you funny when you say the phrase, if so, get the manager and INSIST on a freshly flame broiled patty in your sandwich... if that doesn't work, call the BK customer hotline and COMPLAIN.
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#36 Chef Fowke

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 12:11 AM

I just assumed that the drop in quality of the hamburgers at Burger King and McDonalds was due to stricter enforcement of Haccp. The liability of serving a burger that makes a customer sick is so great that it is better, corporately, to serve a customer a burger with no flavour (cooked to death and held at a high temperature or eradiated) instead of risking illness and serving food that is 100% pure (editable) beef cooked to medium rare and tasting good.
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#37 Fat Guy

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 12:51 AM

Remember this isn't chopped Peter Luger steak we're testing...

Thanks for this enlightening post, friedclams.

A couple of points come to mind regarding the Peter Luger comparison:

- Peter Luger manages to sell its burgers, which are significantly larger than a Whopper, for $5.95. That represents just about the highest-quality hamburger meat imaginable. I think it's worth noting this, in light of the $5.49 cost of a large Whopper value meal.

- Even if it's not chopped Peter Luger steak we should be comparing Burger King to, how about comparing a Burger King burger to a burger made from the meat you can buy at any supermarket in America? I notice this week the local ShopRite where I do a lot of my grocery shopping has ground beef on sale for 99 cents a pound. And I assure you, this stuff makes very good burgers. Not Peter Luger burgers. Not the burgers you can get at the better steakhouses. But burgers as good as most pub burgers that would be rated as very good by experienced burger eaters. That's one of the things that's so confounding about these fast food chains: you're telling us about this massive research operation and all these resources and personnel being poured into developing Burger King's plan, yet any moron with 99 cents can go to ShopRite and get enough meat to make four hamburgers that are many, many, many times better than any burger that Burger King will ever serve. That's just pathetic.

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#38 Chef Fowke

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 12:59 AM

But the average moron is not concerned about poisoning a customer and getting slapped with a multi-million dollar lawsuit. What is the cost to these corporations to protect the safety of their consumer?
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#39 hillbill

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 06:06 AM

Is it just an optical illusion or is that sandwich about the length of a finger? 

If so, that's the smallest fast-food sammich I ever did see (or the longest finger.....)

it should be noted that i have freakishly small hands.

In other words, you're saying sub-optical illusion fast-food sandwich?
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#40 hillbill

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 06:19 AM

and analysis of meat holding techniques.

????

Meat holding as in how the meat is kept until sold?

or meat holding as in why don't they apply some sort of non-slip coating to keep the patties from plopping out of the buns?
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#41 friedclams

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 09:35 AM

????  Meat holding as in how the meat is kept until sold?    or meat holding as in why don't they apply some sort of non-slip coating to keep the patties from plopping out of the buns?


The trademarked Whopper Sandwich is an "experience" which includes your choice of toppings and the associated eating sloppiness...

HOWEVER...

ANOTHER little known fact of "have it your way" Whopper sandwich build is to
ask for your sandwich CUT IN HALF ...

you may have never noticed on an uncut Whopper sandwich that the wrapper is folded in a special way (all BK employees are trained in folding technique...lol) ... when one ASKS for cut in half the special folding forms a non-slip pocket for each half holding in all the sandwich toppings making it possible to cleanly eat a Whopper while driving or any other activity...

So now everyone has re-learned two ordering opportunities associated with BK "have it your way" ....

OFF THE BROILER and CUT IN HALF

#42 tommy

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 09:50 AM

So now everyone has re-learned two ordering opportunities associated with BK "have it your way" ....

OFF THE BROILER and CUT IN HALF

that all sounds great, but i can't help but think that those requests would go completely ignored in NYC. :sad:

#43 fifi

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 10:42 AM

I am not opposed to well done burgers. I am not opposed to med rare burgers. I am opposed to rare but that is a personal preference.

My favorite hamburger starts with a rather thin patty, cooked on a really oily griddle, pressed with a spatula so that the outside edges have a crispy brown component. Then it is served with fresh and cold lettuce and onion on a toasted bun that has enough substance to hold up to the mayo or salsa that I prefer as a condiment. Sesame or poppy seed on the bun, please. Melted cheese added to the top of the patty after the last turn doesn't hurt either. And, I won't hold you at gunpoint to keep you from adding some crispy bacon. No E. coli worries there.

The med rare comes only from places like steak houses where they grind their own meat or from places like Fuddruckers where you see them grinding the meat. However, my "diner style" burger off the griddle is still my favorite.

I just know that the "former" BK burgers from a few years ago used to approach, not duplicate, the diner style burger and it no longer does that. McDs lost me long ago with the steamed meat.
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#44 hollywood

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 10:44 AM

because a whopper is chock full of so many ingredients, the tasters could RARELY tell whether the meat was freshly broiled or kept in a plastic holding tray in or out of a steamer.

About these ingredients... Is there anything in the patty itself other than beef?
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#45 friedclams

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 11:20 AM

About these ingredients... Is there anything in the patty itself other than beef?


If a burger chain or any other restaurant advertises 100% beef then its usually the US govt definition of 100% beef which applies. We all know that phrase 100% beef does not relate to the grade of beef and beef components used. Therefore a Prime 100% beef burger is not the same as Choice, Utility or other grade of beef used.

BK doesn't advertise the grade of beef used in the Whopper or any other sandwich. Here is the current composition of the Whopper taken from the BK website:

"The Original WHOPPPER® Sandwich has been doing its thing since 1957. It's a fire-grilled classic and everything you would expect from a great-tasting burger – 1/4 pound of beef, red ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, ketchup, crunchy pickles and onions all on a freshly baked bun. Add extra ketchup and HAVE IT YOUR WAY®."

I just know that the "former" BK burgers from a few years ago used to approach, not duplicate, the diner style burger and it no longer does that. McDs lost me long ago with the steamed meat.


BK never fried their burgers on a greasy griddle, they started with a broiler of the founders design in the very beginning.. it remains the differentiation between BK and other burger chains and an economic hurdle for competitors.

QUOTE (friedclams @ Oct 14 2003, 12:35 PM)
So now everyone has re-learned two ordering opportunities associated with BK "have it your way" ....

OFF THE BROILER and CUT IN HALF 

that all sounds great, but i can't help but think that those requests would go completely ignored in NYC


I believe that even in NYC that BK corporate and franchisees will honor every component of have it your way menu ordering.... the POS register continues to be setup to accept custom burger orders and the POS displays the order/sandwich details at the prep table(s) in addition to printing the custom order on your receipt (if you ask for one)... it may be that you have forgotten about have it your way ordering... mass customization remains a key market differentiation for BK (note how McD sandwich customization, grill orders, were always difficult to get and one waited a long time to receive the sandwich).... I've never found any BK restaurants not able to customize a Whopper Sandwich in reasonable time... ASK the restaurant manager if the kids taking orders don't understand you... they might not like customizing your sandwich during the noon rush at their busiest restaurants but it pays to persist and get a freshly flame broiled patty...

BTW, have it your way INCLUDES ordering the equivalent of the old "Big Plain" which a Whopper Sandwich MINUS all the toppings.

For those who have forgotten the custom ordering etiquette... SAY:
MINUS topping name to subtract a topping
ADD (or EXTRA) topping name to add MORE of the topping, the word ADD can be repeated for double or triple of a topping, or one can shortcut, eg, ADD 2 slices of cheese; some people have used the word HEAVY for some topping which may need translation into double or triple portion
NOTE: some items like ADD tomato or ADD cheese can come with a price tacked on

POST sandwich build one can always ask for extra ketchup or mayo and get the packets...

Remember the BK jingle:

Hold the pickle,
hold the lettuce,
special orders don't upset us,
All we ask is that you let us serve it your way...

Edited by friedclams, 14 October 2003 - 12:15 PM.


#46 pjs

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 09:10 PM

BK never fried their burgers on a greasy griddle, they started with a broiler of the founders design in the very beginning.. it remains the differentiation between BK and other burger chains and an economic hurdle for competitors.

Actually, according to J. McLamore's autobiography, the original piece-of-crap Insta-burger-broiler was used for some time in the mid-fifties until they became fed-up with it and designed a new one. They then invested lots of money in designing and building the things themselves instead of out-sourcing like McD.

McLamore also mentions in the book his worst business decision was selling out to Pillsbury in the mid-sixties.

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#47 Stone

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 09:39 PM

By the way, to answer the original question: It's very manky.

#48 Fat Guy

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 10:41 PM

Is there anything in the patty itself other than beef?

As I understand it, there are no additives in McDonald's or Burger King beef patties -- no soy or anything like that. However, that still leaves a lot of flexibility in terms of what can go in. A cow is a big animal and profit maximization comes from using every bit of it that can legally be used, cut as close to the bone as possible.

I may have one more trip to Burger King left in me this year. If I muster up the fortitude, I'll drop a really complex order on them.

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#49 KatieLoeb

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 10:49 PM

The second looks like the inside of a handkerchef.


*ahem* I apologize in advance, but I must revisit this comment.

I don't know what it looks like when you blow your nose, BUT, if this is what the inside of my hanky looked like, I'd be off to the Emergency Room poste haste!

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#50 hjshorter

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 05:28 AM

What do I need to say to get them to stop microwaving the lettuce? BK would be a little more palatable if they didn't micro all of the toppings with the burger and bun. It's just gross.
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#51 Carlovski

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 05:44 AM

I always used to order a Mushroom double Swiss when in times of desperation (Normally hungry and waiting for a train - Big train stations nearly always have a BK franchise in the UK). Hardly anyone orders them, so you nearly always get a freshly made one! Of course you could be unlucky, and they decided to make one up that morning, and as I said, hardly anyone orders them...
As someone who used to frequent such establishments, I'd say I find Burger King much better than McDonalds. But that still isn't saying much!
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They are delicious.

#52 friedclams

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:09 PM

Actually, according to J. McLamore's autobiography, the original piece-of-crap Insta-burger-broiler was used for some time in the mid-fifties until they became fed-up with it and designed a new one. They then invested lots of money in designing and building the things themselves instead of out-sourcing like McD.


Jim was a great guy to talk to about the early years. My original point was that BK always used some type of broiler, crap or not... The broiler is of BK proprietary design but built by a public equipment company.

What do I need to say to get them to stop microwaving the lettuce? BK would be a little more palatable if they didn't micro all of the toppings with the burger and bun. It's just gross.


We looked at this and determined that there was some merit to keeping the hot components separate from the cold condiments (remember how McD tried that) but speed of service won out. It added too many seconds to prep time to keep the condiments separate. Have you considered that the condiments could be warm because you accepted a prepared uncustomized Whopper from the chute?? If you order off the broiler, there should be no need to microwave the sandwich so I would expect cold lettuce...
NOTE: there is no POS key the BK order taker can punch for eliminating the microwave step if you try to have-it-your-way and the patty used for your sandwich has been in a holding tray for several minutes because you didn't order off the broiler...lol

I may have one more trip to Burger King left in me this year. If I muster up the fortitude, I'll drop a really complex order on them.


Go for it Fat Guy...
AND try the A/B off the broiler and off the chute of a standard Whopper Sandwich

#53 KatieLoeb

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:17 PM

Wasn't Inspector Clousseau looking for the Lee-SONSE for his Manky?

:biggrin:

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#54 Ling

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 09:53 PM

The Whoppers up here in Canada are actually pretty good for a fast food burger. I like them much better than anything at McDonald's.

#55 KarenS

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 12:10 AM

My dad grew up in LA, my mom in SF. My dad has never eaten at BK or McD. My mom only once, when her friend took her as a joke when she was retiring. I never eat fast food. It is expensive, wasteful, and bad for the enviornment. There are so many other choices. The fallacy is that it is cheap. Hell no, you could have roast chicken , turkey, burritos, sandwichs, and save money with better quality. My mom made good burgers.
I see my friends fighting the "suck in the kids early thing". 2-3-4 year olds that are eating that fat and sodium filled food as "building their bodies". It is the toys, the tv, etc... A mother can say,"please, my child does not eat fast food"-the school will take them there as an outing! A birthday party can mean "we are going to McD". People need to ask if that is O.K. Don't start children down the path of high fat/sodium/sugar/ bafore they even have a chance to make a choice.

#56 SobaAddict70

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 08:23 AM

What do I need to say to get them to stop microwaving the lettuce?  BK would be a little more palatable if they didn't micro all of the toppings with the burger and bun.  It's just gross.

Actually, this is incorrect.

As friedclams has described, the burgers are cooked on a conveyor type device that flame-broils each patty and then are held in a steamer-type holding area. As each burger is made to order, the burger is then nuked in the microwave (if the burger has cheese and/or bacon, these components are added to the burger before the burger is placed in the microwave). Meanwhile the rest of the sandwich is assembled: the top half is spread with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato are placed. When the heel components are finished cooking in the microwave and taken out, onions, pickles and ketchup are added at the last minute before the sandwich is packed up and placed in the chute.

Now, I haven't worked in a BK in ages...something like 15 years, and operative procedures may have changed during that time. From what friedclams has posted, it sounds as if things haven't really changed much over the years. None of the top half components of ANY sandwich are ever microwaved -- this is the half that has the mayo, the lettuce and tomato.

Oh, one other thing that you may not be aware of, but there is an actual recommended amount of ingredient that gets placed on each sandwich.

Soba

PS. One of the strangest orders we ever got that I remember was an all-veggie whopper. No beef, just a bun, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and ketchup. And she wanted it off the broiler. Her fries were to be HEAVILY salted. I don't mean a couple of shakes of salt. I mean HEAVY salt.

edit: She wanted the bun freshly toasted.

Edited by SobaAddict70, 16 October 2003 - 08:29 AM.


#57 Fat Guy

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 08:29 AM

I need to go back and observe more carefully. I thought I saw the fully assembled and wrapped sandwiches being placed in the microwave. This is why eyewitness testimony is so flawed!

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#58 hjshorter

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 09:16 AM

I have received microwaved toppings. It's hard to describe how nasty microwaved mayo is. Bleah. Maybe that particular BK is clueless.
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#59 formerly grueldelux

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 09:17 AM

McDonalds hamburgers are steamed beef Twinkies. No, they're the beef Twinkie you left on the dash. They're the beef paste Twinkie from your armpit.

RE: BK, I thought the short lived BK Homestyle was the best chain burger in ages, hold the lettuce and mayo.
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#60 hillbill

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 09:26 AM

????     Meat holding as in how the meat is kept until sold?    or meat holding as in why don't they apply some sort of non-slip coating to keep the patties from plopping out of the buns?


The trademarked Whopper Sandwich is an "experience" which includes your choice of toppings and the associated eating sloppiness...

HOWEVER...

ANOTHER little known fact of "have it your way" Whopper sandwich build is to
ask for your sandwich CUT IN HALF ...

you may have never noticed on an uncut Whopper sandwich that the wrapper is folded in a special way (all BK employees are trained in folding technique...lol) ... when one ASKS for cut in half the special folding forms a non-slip pocket for each half holding in all the sandwich toppings making it possible to cleanly eat a Whopper while driving or any other activity...

So now everyone has re-learned two ordering opportunities associated with BK "have it your way" ....

OFF THE BROILER and CUT IN HALF



I was just looking at the BK website and found these little tidbits, including the option to have "reduced-fat mayo."

  • The WHOPPER JR.® consists of a flame-broiled beef patty served on a sesame seed bun garnished with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, and onions — the sandwich was originally sold without onions until 1993.


  • The most popular way to order a WHOPPER® sandwich is "hold the onions" while the favorite topping on a WHOPPER® is cheese.


  • The Company adds reduced-fat mayo to its list of condiments options, increasing the ways to order a Whopper® Sandwich to 1,535.


  • There are 1,535 possible ways for a customer to order a WHOPPER® sandwich


  • There are 1,537 possible ways for a customer to order a WHOPPER® sandwich. (If you cut it in half, the number doubles!)


  • Because IT TAKES TWO HANDS TO HANDLE A WHOPPER®, BURGER KING® drive-thru customers can have their WHOPPER® sandwiches cut in half to facilitate eating this big, juicy burger in the car.


  • On March 31, 1999 Burger King Corporation announced the launch of the "new" Left-Handed WHOPPER® as an April Fool's public relations stunt that garnered significant media attention. In the announcement, BKC claimed to have re-engineered the WHOPPER® to fit more comfortably in the left hand, thereby reducing condiment "spills" for left-handed hamburger lovers.


  • The WHOPPER® sandwich lover is equally split between men and women (50/50).


  • Annually, 2.4 billion hamburgers are sold at BURGER KING® restaurants worldwide. Daily, that's 40 semi-truck loads of beef patties


Inquiring minds want to know if there are in truth 1.535 or 1,537 (or 3070 or 3074) possible ways to order a Whopper sandwich? Which one is it BK?

BTW, if you wanna taste test the new Chicken Baguette (and help prove to BK that using Rick Bayless was marketing genius) the web site offers a one-time coupon for a dollar off a CB value meal.

Burger King
.

Edited by hillbill, 16 October 2003 - 09:30 AM.

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