Saturday, March 29, 2008

Slap that bitch up on a bun, bartendah!

Okay, so the Whopper is over the hill at 51, and some executives are trying to find a way to make it hipper and more appealing to the younger generation (the golden 18-24 demo, and believe me, most of them haven't cooked a thing in their lives, so how much of a stretch is it to get their business?). Enter the Whopper Bar. When I read it in print without a picture I though they were somehow going to try to make the damned thing into a bar shape, but that's just because I don't get "contemporary syntax" on account of my being out of the demo, hopelessly uncool, and obviously more mentally hitched to the idea of chocolate than bellying up for meat on a bun. The concept: a custom burger joint that fits into a small space with high output, and you can order your burger however you like, or choose from burgers like The Angry Whopper (spicy onions...), the Texas Double Whopper (bacon, jalapenos), etc.

Can we name our own? I'd like a Fat Cheesy Bastard Whopper (3 patties 5 pieces of cheese). Or an I Just Told A Whopper (1 onion ring, hiding). I'm feeling younger and more refreshed by the Whopper Bar already.

It's a good concept for selling burgers, as much for the possibilities afforded by dropping a tiny burger factory into a food court than merely for the novelty, but the quotes at the end of the New York Times story had me falling over laughing. The lack of awareness displayed by executives trying to explain the coolness of their concept is nearly always a laugh, but this one is just fab:

So, is this for real?

“Absolutely,” said Russ Klein, the company’s president for global marketing, strategy and innovation. “We have a tremendous amount of resources and passion and, most importantly, franchise fever over the prospects of this concept.”

Mr. Klein came up with the idea five years ago, while on a trip to a Burger King outlet in Germany. The franchise owners had set up a bar in the back of the restaurant, serving Whoppers and beer. (Alcohol won’t be appearing in the American incarnation.)

“Even just the syntax, the idea of a concept called the Whopper Bar, it’s very contemporary,” Mr. Klein said. “Like sushi bars, juice bars, oyster bars.”

The Whopper Bar will also feature a build-your-own option for customers hoping to customize their burger.

“The concept is like ‘Pimp My Ride,’ ” Mr. Klein said, referring to the MTV program about customized cars. “To take up your Whopper, make it your own, put you in charge.”

So much so that the company initially considered labeling the concept Pimp Your Whopper. But Mr. Klein quickly insisted that was an early idea that would most likely be abandoned.

“My guess is, we’re not going to use that language on our menu board,” he said.

What, no Bitch on a Bun Whopper?

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