Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fast Food Review: Burger King

What a Burger King Whopper should look like

There's fast food and then there's fast food. For years, Burger King played second fiddle to McDonald's; and this spring, made several menu changes that were supposed to close the (enormous) gap. It turns out, Burger King was merely updating its McD's impersonation: According to Zagat's recent fast-food survey, BK has dipped to fifth in the most popular mega chains (5,000+ locations) behind Subway, Wendy's, McDonald's and Taco Bell. After last night's dinner, I'm here to tell you... that's too high.

Fast food is a crapshoot (pun intended?) but this was really, really bad. I stopped by the BK at 4422 Connecticut Avenue for dinner... and all I got was an upset stomach. The antiquated location (with a movie theme that still features an E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial aerial display, and posters of Kindergarten Cop and Speed) has been around forever, and normally sports pretty good customer service.

Not last night however; as I witnessed the following exchange over a mistaken order, while waiting for my #1 Whopper combo meal.

Customer: I asked for no cheese.
Expeditor: It's just cheese. Take it off yourself: It's easy.

I was surprised the customer did as instructed (he was twice the size of the BK employee) and even more astonished that stuff like this happens in the middle of a recession. At least the order taker was nice to me; All I got from the expeditor was "54," the ticket number of my unfortunate dinner.

I say unfortunate, because I forked over $6.59 for a Whopper meal (with small fries and a Sprite) that sucked. To start with, the fries were soaked in oil (it's all you could taste and smell) with burnt edges (the result of not changing oil in a timely fashion.) I managed to eat only half a dozen of these subpar fries, but the smell on my fingers would need two applications of soap and water to wipe away the bad memories.

On to the burger (Do we have to?) Nicely sized (the bun and 1/4 lb. patty are wide) the burger was slimy and void of grill marks (fire-grilled, my a**) looking closer to the fried patties I remember from my high school cafeteria lunches. Look at the photo below, and tell me that's cooked, yet alone fire-grilled. Note the level of grease on the bun, while you're at it.

Needless to say, the three bites (shown above) were my last of the evening. Six fries, three bites of an undercooked Whopper and a Sprite (at least that was OK.) I can't wait to come back!

Atmosphere: F (It's like traveling way back in time... I'll stay here, thank you very much.)
Burger: F (Even McDonald's is better)
Fries: D- (Go back to thin fries... and change your oil!)
Price: C-
Service: C (Towards me, a C... Overall, another F)
Overall: F (How is this location still open?)