Burger King to McDonald’s: Let’s Make a ‘McWhopper’

Posted on August 26, 2015

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by Bradley Matthews, editing by Adam MS

Burger King’s mascot, “The Burger King,” is seeking a truce, albeit temporary, with Ronald McDonald.

In full-page ads running in The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune on Wednesday, Burger King, a perennial also-ran in the burger races, has asked McDonald’s, its battered but still potent archrival, to join forces.

The goal? To operate one restaurant for one day staffed by employees of both companies and selling a burger called the McWhopper, a blend of the Big Mac and the Whopper, the best-selling burgers at McDonald’s and Burger King.

Sales proceeds would be donated to Peace One Day, a nonprofit group seeking to raise awareness of the International Day of Peace, which was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981 for the opening of its annual meeting.

The United Nations later set Sept. 21 as the day to celebrate world peace, and Burger King proposes opening the pop-up store on that day in a parking lot between a McDonald’s and a Burger King in Atlanta.

“Corporate activism on this scale creates mass awareness and awareness creates action and action saves lives,” Jeremy Gilley, founder of Peace One Day, said in a video posted on the website, mcwhopper.com, that Burger King is using to explain its proposal.

No Burger King executive was available for comment, but in a news release, Fernando Machado, the company’s senior vice president for global brand management, urged McDonald’s to help “make history and generate a lot of noise around Peace Day.”

McDonald’s declined to comment.

Burger King is now part of a Canadian-based company called Restaurant Brands International, which was created by the private equity group 3G Capital when it merged the burger chain with Tim Hortons, a Canadian restaurant chain.

The new owner cut costs, as it often does when it acquires a company, quickly improving the battered burger chain’s financial performance.

Improving sales proved a bigger challenge, and for a time last year, Burger King even ceded its position as the world’s No. 2 burger chain to Wendy’s.

The business has now recovered, though, posting a 6.7 percent gain in sales at stores open at least a year in the second quarter, which ended June 30. Management attributed the gains in part to the success of menu additions like a pulled pork sandwich and the return of the popular Chicken Fries.

In the proposed pop-up shop, employees from both companies would wear special uniforms, and the burgers they would serve might blend the Big Mac’s top bun (Burger King, not surprisingly, calls it a “crown”) and Big Mac sauce with the tomato slices and 4-ounce meat patty from the Whopper, among other things.

One sticking point might be the ketchup. McDonald’s famously stopped using Heinz ketchup when 3G bought the company, and Burger King has suggested using it on the McWhopper.

And there’s no word about which of the chains would supply fries.

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Posted in: BUSINESS, NEWS