Burger King says its restaurants are awful (so use a delivery app)

Uber Eats and its ilk aren't everyone's favorite. Yet Burger King cleverly managed to make them seem like the best option.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

Finally, a good reason.

Screenshot by ZDNet

Delivery apps have something of an image problem.

Many people believe they have contributed to the desperate demise of the restaurant industry during the pandemic, by gouging vast fees and ending any hopes restaurants have of making money.

How, though, can you make apps like Uber Eats seem like the most positive thing you can do, as opposed to the laziest?

With this in mind, Burger King's Brazilian arm created an ad that elevates consumer psychology to an exalted level.

Instead of showing how convenient delivery apps are, it's showing some of the dreadful things that happen late at night. In Burger King restaurants, that is.

The burger chain's ad offers footage of a young man -- perhaps the worse for wear -- being dragged out of a Burger King on his stomach.

It shows another young man -- perhaps the worse for wear -- seated semi-comatose at a Burger King table while someone builds a sculpture of Burger King receptacles on his body.

There's a man washing his neck from the soda fountain.

And then there are the naked and merely bottomless men who somehow gather in Burger Kings to display themselves. Perhaps they think they'll get a free Whopper.

This all purports to be real footage. And how odd that all of this painful behavior seems to have been enacted by, oh, men.

Ultimately, you get a glowing feeling of "well, when you look at it like that." Only the best ads achieve that.

Burger King's tagline tries to cement the sale by musing that delivery is "the best of Burger King without the worst of Burger King," as it offers the logos of delivery apps Uber Eats, iFood and Rappi.

We could debate for some time about the best and worst of Burger King, but let's slip away to a more businesslike aspect of this vastly clever ad.

Some suspect that if fast-food chains can shift more of their business to delivery, they'll be tempted to shut their dine-in restaurants altogether.

As investment bank analyst Andrew Charles explained to the Wall Street Journal recently: "For quick-service restaurants, they don't want to reopen their dining rooms because this drags down profitability and increases costs."

It's a delicious thought. Just tell your customers how terrible your physical retail is and they'll leap to the tech solution.

And no, Apple fanpersons, that's not what Microsoft was thinking when it recently closed almost all its retail stores and committed to online service only.

I don't think so, anyway.

11 delivery robots that will soon carry food and packages to your door

Editorial standards