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Hamburger Diaries: Burger King

Friday, 29 October, 2010

I apologize for the blandness of this review. It has been a week since I visited Burger King. I just can’t think of anything to say about it. Burger King has been a different company every few years and the execution leaves much to be desired. I don’t have any video. I just don’t care.

The King has been the subject of more than a little business press lately as the company has recently been acquired by yet another investment group. I wish the new owners well, and hope my experience was not a reflection of what is to come.

Somehow, Burger King isn’t convenient for me. I have to pass the King on the way home from the grocery, although not on the way there. It is not convenient to either my home or work. It’s easily been five years since I’ve indulged. Due to plentiful 2-for-1 offer coupons, they were a consistent choice during my teen years and I thought I knew what the offerings are like. My comparison of Whataburger to Burger King is based upon this idea.

In actual practice, there is no comparison except price. I remember actual grilled beef enhancing otherwise merely reasonable ingredients, even if that beef was strategically warmed in a microwave just before serving. The entire enterprise was formed around the Insta-Burger grilling machine, and I cannot imagine how this essential element was abandoned.

I arrived at Burger King near what is with certainty the busiest corner in Austin, Interstate 35 at Texas 71/Ben White Boulevard, around 7:30 on a Saturday night. Near such traffic, you might expect literally any enterprise would be packed with people. There were two other parties there. Both appeared to be stopping primarily to get out of the traffic.

The interior is totally ’90s but in 80’s aqua and purple. It just feels weird. If the objective of interior design of QSRs is for you to eat and get the hell out, they are entirely successful. There is a TV playing a sports channel, but without sound and closed-captioning on. I don’t know if that’s better or worse. The fountain is a prominent feature of the dining area. I had to remind myself of this after being presented with an empty cup.

My order: Combo No. 1 Whopper. I was not asked and did not remember to add cheese. $6.47 I was served in three minutes. That’s good.

I have said I thought BK’s fries and Jack’s fries were probably the same product. They are not, or no longer. They were fine but not a reason to return. Certainly better than McDonald’s sticks. The Whopper was a bland, merely warm patty on an inconsequential bun. Like Carl’s Jr. it did not taste of proper muscle-based beef, although not as offensive. The average quantity of ugly toppings were also warm and bland.

I have little to say about Burger King. It’s dull, the dining area could have used a sweep or two, and I have no reason to return. Indeed, my expectation of the Burger King of twenty years ago actually hurt the experience. I ate my meal and got out, presumably as it was designed. If you want people to go to Burger King, it’s going to take more than inexplicable advertising and mediocre chow. King, you get points for having a veggie burger on the menu. I guess.

If you give me a reason to return, I may. Not really looking forward to it.

I have only one restaurant of the Big Four left to review. I suspect Wendy’s shall disappoint also.

One Comment
  1. Graeme permalink
    Saturday, 13 November, 2010 21:05

    My dad refused to go to Burger King for years just because the lobbies never seem to be clean. Never.

    I think their fried chicken is surprisingly decent. Makes a good sandwich.

    The fries are fine. They get a lot of scrutiny because they’re not as distinct as McDonald’s. Not as well engineered…


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