Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
In the fast-food world, fast sometimes seems more important than the food.
Whether it’s serving customers or introducing innovations, speed can be the essence, the whole essence and nothing but the essence.
So when I heard that Burger King was springing a surprise on April Fool’s Day, I wondered whether the essence here might merely be the speed of trying to get media attention.
If it wasn’t just one big joke, that is.
Should you have buried your head inside several hoodies, with a vow not to emerge until the silly day is over, Burger King announced it’s launching an Impossible Whopper.
Or, for those with optimism in their souls, a meat-free Whopper.
It might be hard for some to imagine that anything meat-free could be called a Whopper.
I fear some might think this more a Whimper.
Still, the notion is that Burger King will be grilling the famed plant-based Impossible Burger in the hope that you’ll feel less guilty.
As the chain’s North American president Chris Finazzo admitted to CNN, the idea is to “give somebody who wants to eat a burger every day, but doesn’t necessarily want to eat beef every day, permission to come into the restaurants more frequently.”
People really want to eat burgers every day? Really? Even President Trump at least sometimes devolves to KFC.
I am, though, moved by the word permission.
What power these chains (think they) have to yank on human feelings.
I’m sure many will be moved to enjoy a guilt-free, fake-blooded joy.
Please let me tell you about the one little — alright, vast — catch.
There was nothing wrong with it.
There was nothing especially distinctive about it either. It tasted of very little, so the whole burger depended entirely on its other ingredients.
There is, therefore, a huge caveat to this bold Fool’s Day move.
The Whopper has a very distinctive taste. Will the Impossible version — and this will be a new formulation of the Impossible strain — have any taste at all, other than that of the fixin’s that are ladled on top?
It’s one thing to assuage one’s guilt. It’s another to insult one’s tastebuds.
Finazzo himself confessed that customers don’t want to give up on taste. That’s why this is merely an Impossible test in the St. Louis area. This, even though smaller chains such as White Castle and Fatburger have already gone Impossible.
Still, if Burger King can somehow manipulate this burger into the mainstream mouth, it will have a considerable advantage against the likes of McDonald’s.
Will, then, Burger King’s speed bring it the guilt-free joys of greater profits?
There’s every possibility.