Brooklyn Burger King Branch Fools Customers Who Ordered Vegetarian Whopper
A Brooklyn Burger King franchise was found to be selling regular beef Whoppers to customers who ordered its meat-free “twin” on Seamless, a new product called the Impossible Whopper.
Following a test rollout in St. Louis in April, the new product is not yet available in New York City, and the chain at 736 Broadway in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, was the only NYC-based chain to list the item on its Seamless page.
In May, Burger King announced the new Whopper would soon debut in Miami, Columbus, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama, and will be available nationwide by year’s end.
Ironically, ads promoting the Impossible Whopper emphasize the alleged impossibility of distinguishing a real Whopper from its meatless counterpart, made with soy protein, potato protein, coconut oil, sunflower oil and heme. The burger is advertised as “100% WHOPPER, 0% BEEF.”
The ‘Impossible Taste Test’ ad features supposed CCTV footage of self-confessed meat lovers at a Burger King restaurant biting unwittingly into a veggie burger and wolfing it down none the wiser, followed by their over-the-top reactions when they’re told after the meal that they just ate a veggie patty.
Given that people abstain from beef for ethical, religious and dietary reasons, the incident at the Brooklyn chain is more than a mere mix-up. Furthermore, the patty is not a Burger King product; it’s made by Impossible Foods, a company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy products, thereby implicating a third-party brand in the scandal.
A manager at the offending franchise told EATER Network that when a customer orders an Impossible Whopper on Seamless they send a classic beef Whopper in its place and instruct the driver to inform the customer of the swap – which they did not always do. Furthermore, the receipt still lists the item as an Impossible Whopper.
Until the listing on Seamless was taken down following the EATER report, the Impossible Whopper was listed as the most popular item on the Seamless page, and was sold at the same price ($5.49) as the regular Whopper.
A Burger King spokesperson attributed it to a “technology error” from a franchisee.
“We apologize for any confusion this has caused,” reads a statement from the spokesperson. “Any guests who ordered an Impossible Whopper through delivery in the New York area and have any questions may call 866-394-2493.”
A 35-year-old Williamsburg resident told EATER he’d ordered the item on Seamless twice before and only found out it wasn’t a vegetarian item when he visited the store at a later date, ordered the Impossible Whopper and was told they didn’t sell it.
“I was incredulous,” the unnamed man told Eater. “It’s maybe 20 percent poisoning. This is a city where there are a lot of reasons why people don’t eat [meat], from religion to health to ethics.”