Burger King's Pizza Burger Debuts

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Pizza or burgers? It's the "Sophie's Choice" of fast food decisions. Starting next month at Burger King's Times Square Whopper Bar, it will at last be possible to have both.  Behold the Pizza Burger, a 9-and-a-half-inch wide, 13 dollar, 2500 calorie paean to the virtues of marinara-soaked ground beef. Here's what people are saying:

  • A Disgrace What is it with fast food joints and these beastly burgers, asks the Chicago Tribune's Phil Vettel. "It's like all the national quick-service chains take turns foisting grotesque, heart-attack-in-a-polystyrene-box sandwiches to the American public." Vettel was particularly annoyed by Burger King's note that the Pizza Burger's pesto (oh yes, it has pesto) is nut-free. That's right, "the company may be dishing out burgers that might burst your aorta on contact, but if you have a nut allergy, Burger King's got your back."
  • Bad Branding BNET's Carol Tice says this typifies Burger King's recent "marketing schizophrenia." If the Pizza Burger expands beyond the one test location, it could put further strain on the tense relationship between the company and franchisees:
Burger King’s franchise owners are already fed up with their corporate parent, which has commanded they add both too-cheap menu items that made them lose money (the $1 double cheeseburger) and poorly planned menu items that they ran out of (BK Fire-Grilled Ribs). The last thing they need is a menu item that’s hard to assemble — one can just imagine how much it could slow down the assembly line and hurt sales volume if hourly workers have to stop and dab marinara and pesto mayo on pizza burgers. Several of the ingredients seem to be unique to the pizza burger, which could potentially also create waste for franchise owners if the item isn’t a hit.
  • Not Even Good Whopper Bar allowed Joshua David Stein of Eater to try a sample. He wasn't impressed. "It succeeds in the semiotic suggestion of a pizza," concedes Stein, "but it doesn't really taste like a burger and certainly tastes not a lick like a Whopper, a strange failure for the pièce de résistance of a Whopper Bar."

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