Burger King: Where's the effin' beef?

Categories: Jenn in Chains

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I really hate it when fast-food restaurants are out of major items. Like Taco Bell not having tacos, Dairy Queen being out of ice cream, and Burger King not having burgers. I get that working in fast-food places is not all pissing rainbows and shitting kittens, and that running out of things from time to time is just a reality, but I always wonder if it wouldn't be a better option to close up shop temporarily until major items are back on the menu, rather than just winging it.

Yesterday a Westword writer who knows his burgers rolled up to the BK on Sixth and Broadway for a double cheeseburger fix, and was told by an employee that burgers were off the menu: Allegedly the broiler was down, so no hot, juicy, cheeseburger for him. Instead, he got an order of chicken tenders, then rolled on to a nearby Wendy's to fill the cold, empty void left by BK's rejection.

When I called that Burger King a few hours later, an employee told me that there had been no broiler incident, and that burgers had been available all day. That's pretty shysty, BK people.

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Is this incident going to have a lasting impact on the burger universe as we know it? Probably not, although our BK burger lover won't be going back any time soon. Still, it presents some food for thought. What's the appropriate way to handle major menu item outages? I don't mean sauce packets or croutons -- although I get intemperate when Taco Bell runs out of hot sauce -- but a shortage of concept-defining menu items.

From a customer's point of view, it's irksome bordering on maddening to make an order, pay and get to the window/counter -- only to be told that the place is out of what you ordered. Some spots will take the initiative and post a note letting customers know about any shortage, thus giving them an early heads-up to either get over it or go somewhere else. This is a solid gesture.

From my experience, unfortunately, fast-food joints are subject to the mandates of their corporate office overlords, who don't seem to give a chicken-tender-fueled crap about their employees being inconvenienced or verbally abused by irate customers who can't get a promised menu item. They are the people customers should communicate with when they are burgerless and hungry for change.

And shuttering for a while seems like a much better idea than pissing off customers while employees scramble to do the best they can with the food they do have. It's not like there isn't plenty of deep-cleaning for them to do while the equipment is being serviced or the larder restocked, so the company can't whine about productivity and overhead.

Should places like Burger King be allowed to pause sales if they are out of burgers? Should employees fib to save face? Tell us what you think in the comments below.




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18 comments
Oggiedoggy444
Oggiedoggy444

Well, usually from 10-11 or so the broiler is taken apart to be cleaned. The burgers for the hour are cooked beforehand. Another reason not to eat fast food late at night.

Eric Chiappetta
Eric Chiappetta

They should give out complementary crowns in the event...

Sean Keating
Sean Keating

Well, if you like burgers give 'em a try sometime. Me, I can't usually get 'em myself because my girlfriend's a vegetarian which pretty much makes me a vegetarian. But I do love the taste of a good burger. Mmm. 

GFTW
GFTW

Great investigative journolism Jennstir!! Focussing on the most dire problems of our times!!

guest
guest

Wow.  Slow news day?  Struggling to fill your print space quota for the day?  This is about as inane of a blog item as has ever been posted as a NEWSFLASH.   Frickin drive one block and get a burger somewhere else for craps sake.  And the topper, so bored you actually had to call the location later to ask Whatsup ??  geez  

GFTW
GFTW

C'mon, Jennstir's trying! She fills WW's diversity quota in the "special needs" requirement.

Jenn Loves Boredom
Jenn Loves Boredom

 You should really see some of the other shit I do when I'm bored....#nakedwithketchup

Jenn Loves Boredom
Jenn Loves Boredom

 @GFTW: I have far too many many special needs to go into on a blog. I do try, though.

guest
guest

 I apologize.  I didn't know she was one of the kids who rode the 'short bus'.   Obvious now, so Me bad.

Bagwhan
Bagwhan

your snarky responses to commenters doesn't make you more endearing or more interesting.  It actually makes you more annoying.

guest
guest

 No self-respect needed when all these comments (hers included) are simply filling the newspace quota for the Next day for lack of any Other newsworthy print.  Glad I could help.

SmokingLoon
SmokingLoon

The article itself should be an embarrassing low point for any "journalist", but the continued responses to those making comments simply make you appear ridiculous. Have a little self-respect Jenn.

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