44.6 F
Seattle
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

August 8th: Time to bite “The ‘Burger”?

The first fast food  promoted like a summer blockbuster is coming to drive-ins country wide . . .

Or is it? Burger King started teasing its Impossible Whopper back in April, but the rollout of drive-up access to Impossible Meat’s all-vegetable miracle-burger turned out to be confined to just 60 stores in St. Louis, Missouri, and even there it’s usually been “out of stock due to overwhelming demand.”

So don’t be too sure an August 8 drive up to Mountlake Terrace or down to Kent (four stores within four miles!) is going to score you a taste of vegan carnality. Better to save the gas and take a bus to Rainier Avenue South and Hill Street—what I’m going to do—and minimize the disappointment.

Still, I can’t help hoping that this time, BK pulls it off. It’s overdue for a break. Since the chain was founded in 1953 Miami, it’s been the consistent runner-up to McDonald’s in the drive-in burger sector, and its Whopper consistently rated tastier than the ubiquitous Big Mac.

And BK has managed to do that while under incessant assault by the merger-and-acquisition vultures: bought up, drained of cash, sold to the next speculator, repeat ad lib: Pillsbury, Grand Metropolitan, Diageo,pTPG Capital . . . Even on the World Wide Web it’s hard to discover who currently owns it. (My cautious guess: the Brazilian conglomerate 3G Capital, but that may already be yesterday’s news.)

The Impossible Whopper may be the last, best opportunity for Burger King, the eternal No. 2 of the fast-food universe, to get beyond its red-headed stepchild business image. But success will depend entirely on its partner Impossible Meats—a startup with a great product but so far unable to gear up supply to meet demand.

BK stumbled badly when its Missouri drive-ins failed to realize that vegans are as particular about their food as strict Orthodox Jews and Halal-keeping Muslims. They did not like learning their Impossible patties were sizzling on grills beside the evil beef variety. Twitter went lunar. True vegans may never forgive the lapse.

While counting on Impossible to provide enough product to fill the grills at its 8000+ US outlets, BK must also be praying that Impossible fails in its promise to have its Impossibles in every cooler case in every high-end supermarket chain in America by September. How can you trust a “partner” who goes lusting after the mass market while unable to live up to its commitment to you?

All considered, Burger King’s hail-Mary marketing pass seems beyond risky but unavoidable. I still hope the burger-craving masses are willing to be patient just a little longer. We’ve waited a long time for our lettuce-and-tomato-topped guilt-free indulgence. A little longer won’t hurt us.

Roger Downey
Born in Canada moved to Peru's altiplano at the age of six; came to the U.S. at 10 to discover that you don't use your feet to dribble the ball. Learned from the git-go that "America" is an idea, not a place.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

LATEST

King County, E-book-Lending Capital Of The World

King County Library System is the third-busiest e-book lender in the country (after the Los Angeles Public Library and the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium) and fourth-largest in the world (Toronto is No.1 with more than 6 million checkouts). But the Seattle region tops all libraries in digital checkouts when you add in Seattle Public Libraries, which posted more than 3 million digital checkouts in 2019.

Has Downtown Seattle Become a War Zone?

Add to the crime problem the coming years of "The Seattle Squeeze," caused by massive construction activity, and you have a Downtown Seattle under political strain.

Don’t Get Shot! Will Gray Wolves Be Dropped From The Endangered Species List?

If wolves lose all federal protection, as is now threatened, they still have the state. But Washington state policy looks uncertain.

Urban Asset: What To Do With Underused Churches

Purchasing a church is not easy, as the congregation is normally split between the sell-and-move faction and the nostalgic-stay-put group. It took the congregation of the Christian Science Church about 10 years to make a decision -- the kind of debate and delay that often chases off developers. But what lovely assets these old sanctuaries are!

Are We Going To Save Orcas Or Not? Another Blow to Chinook Salmon

"Fishery managers and NOAA could resolve this by moving Southeast Alaska’s Chinook fishery in or near the Alaskan rivers where their Chinook were born, allowing Chinook from down the coast to migrate back to their home rivers along the coast, and giving Southern Resident killer whales a chance to feed.”

TRENDING

Has Downtown Seattle Become a War Zone?

Add to the crime problem the coming years of "The Seattle Squeeze," caused by massive construction activity, and you have a Downtown Seattle under political strain.

Urban Asset: What To Do With Underused Churches

Purchasing a church is not easy, as the congregation is normally split between the sell-and-move faction and the nostalgic-stay-put group. It took the congregation of the Christian Science Church about 10 years to make a decision -- the kind of debate and delay that often chases off developers. But what lovely assets these old sanctuaries are!

King County, E-book-Lending Capital Of The World

King County Library System is the third-busiest e-book lender in the country (after the Los Angeles Public Library and the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium) and fourth-largest in the world (Toronto is No.1 with more than 6 million checkouts). But the Seattle region tops all libraries in digital checkouts when you add in Seattle Public Libraries, which posted more than 3 million digital checkouts in 2019.

Review: “Evgenyi Onegin” – Pain! Passion! Poetry! (hold the irony . . .)

I suddenly realized how lucky we are to have it at all. If the poet who created the story and the composer who set it to music 40 years later had ever actually met, they would probably have disliked each other enough to make collaboration impossible.

Humor: Tips on Buying Off Shakedown Artists on the Phone

It was Seattle City light threatening to turn off my electricity unless I paid them $857 immediately. I told them to collect a $1,000 Amazon gift card.