Of all the complaints people make about the fast food industry—the food causes type 2 diabetes, the meat comes from horrible factory farms, many locations are visibly filthy, etc—one complaint you almost never hear is that fast food is inconvenient.
Convenience is probably the number one quality that Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and their fellow chains have going for them. They’re ubiquitous, consistent from coast to coast with rare exceptions, and you can order, receive, and pay for your meal in about five minutes, all without leaving the comfort of your automobile. If you consider how long it should take a restaurant to make you a burger and fries, the facility with which these restaurants turn your desire into food almost makes seems like they’re employing magic.
Yet Burger King is seeking to make the process of getting a value meal even easier. Recently, the chain selected four restaurants in the Washington D.C. area to start a delivery service, which will make receiving a Double Stacker with large fries and a Coke as simple as dialing a phone number. According to USA Today, the four locations are offering delivery from 11am to 10pm (no Double Croissant’Wich) to customers living within 10 minutes of their stores. They aim to deliver within 30 minutes of the phone call and charge a $2 delivery fee. If successful, BK plans to expand the program.
While totally unnecessary, given that pizza home delivery has been standard for years it’s almost a wonder it’s taken so long for burger joints to catch on. Though not quite. One of the main problems with Burger King’s food—other than taste and ingredients—is that there’s a huge difference between a fresh fast food burger and fries and one that’s been hanging out in a bag for thirty minutes. The moment the temperature of a BK meal passes from hot to room temperature, it transforms from food into garbage.
But according to USA Today, Burger King has accounted for this phenomenon. The burger chain “developed a ‘proprietary thermal packaging technology,” says Jonathan Fitzpatrick, chief brand and operations officer for Burger King, ‘which ensures the Whopper is delivered hot and fresh, and the french fries are delivered hot and crispy.’”
I’m not sure a Whopper is delivered “fresh” even when you order it at a Burger King counter and I can’t remember the last time fast-food fries were legitimately crispy. But he’s got the right idea—if Burger King is going to compete with Wendy’s new plan to become the number-two fast-food chain in the country, they’re going to have to find new ways of getting their food to your mouth.