Customers in Austria were once compelled to specifically request beef in their burgers as part of a Burger King marketing.
One-third of the fast food chain’s burgers sold in Belgium are vegetarian, the company recently disclosed. (In some stores in the heart of the city, the ratio is one in two.)
Since then, Burger King Austria has launched an experimental campaign to entice more consumers to forgo beef. People had to specifically request meat in their burgers if they wanted it. However, all sandwiches came with a vegetarian patty as the regular variety.
The restaurant in Vienna’s Margaretengürtel served as the site of the consumer experiment.
A New Norm
The effort to make meat-free meals the norm debuted earlier this month. It displayed a provocative motto that read, “Normal oder mit fleisch?” (“Normal or with meat?”) in an effort to get customers to consider their orders.
A Burger King server asked customers if they wanted their burgers made as is or with meat after they placed their orders. This frequently resulted in an explanation that the restaurant chain no longer views animal flesh as the only standard for its menu offerings.
The campaign has generated discussion. Customers’ reactions to the one-time ordering system are shown in a YouTube video with more than 80,000 views to be both good and negative.
“So what, should I order my coke with meat as well?” asks one consumer, before swearing about wanting a “normal” patty on his Whopper. Conversely, another says: “Got it, got it…nice. Like it.”
In 2021, 25.8% of the people in Austria declared themselves to be flexitarians. As more people cut back on their consumption of meat, it is anticipated that this number will keep rising.
Starting a Dialogue
The YouTube video for Burger King Austria received more than 20,000 views in a single day. The hashtag #normalodermitfleisch was used with the intention of provoking discussion.
In a statement, Jan-Christoph Küster, marketing director of the TQSR Group, the Austrian master franchisee of Burger King, said, “With this question, we want to stimulate the social debate and show that our plant-based alternatives have a confusing taste.”
“Meat is one option, but it is not the only one. We leave it open to our guests what is normal for them: everyone should have the same taste,” he added.
Burger King’s Accommodations
The Burger King restaurant trial in Austria comes after a number of other Burger King restaurants temporarily switched to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Among them was London’s premier eatery in Leicester Square, which in March of this year adopted a completely plant-based menu.
“At Burger King, we are making meatless indulgence a permanent fixture on our menu, because meat no longer comes naturally to everyone.”
“With the provocative question ‘Normal or meat?’, we want to show that we take our customers and their needs seriously. Because from now on, we also serve almost our entire range on a plant-based basis,” Küster said.
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