There’s nothing like biting into a burger that you saw in an ad and feeling the taste not of umami but of bitter disappointment.
The cheese is not as stretchy and the lettuce isn’t as crisp, and it certainly doesn’t seem as thick and juicy.
Most people accept that what they see on television represents an idealized version of the actual product. But, even though you sort of know the game, sometimes the actual reality can be a real letdown.
The experience is a common one because, as most know by now, the burgers we see on screens rarely live up to their real-life fast food equivalents. But for some, the discrepancy is large enough to take things to court.
Is That Burger Large Enough For You?
Earlier this week, four plaintiffs claiming to represent hundreds of others across the country filed a lawsuit claiming that Restaurant Brands International (QSR) – Get Restaurant Brands International Inc Report-owned Burger King exaggerates and under-delivers when it comes to the size of its Whoppers.
Filed in the U.S. District Court in Miami, the class-action lawsuit, first reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, claims that the Whoppers are presented “based on false and misleading advertising concerning the size and/or the amount of ingredients contained in said menu item.”
In simpler words, they are arguing that customers who bought a juicy Whopper from what they saw online or on TV were misled into buying what was actually a much smaller sandwich.
That is all while Burger King allegedly made the Whoppers look larger and larger in its ads from 2017 onwards.
They further claim that this applies not just to Burger King’s regular Whoppers but to sandwiches across the board from the meatless Impossible Whopper to the Croissan’wich breakfast sandwich.
The official claims are breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment for which Burger King consumers are owed damages and legal fees.
Burger King told TheStreet that it “does not comment on pending or potential litigations.”
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Has This Ever Happened Before? Oh, Yeah
Lawsuits accusing fast food companies of false advertisement have, by now, entered the canon of American culture, with different types of false advertising lawsuits have been popping up since at least the 1980s.
In September 2019, a New Jersey couple filed a lawsuit claiming that the two “$5 Chalupa Craving Boxes” they bought from Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get Yum! Brands, Inc. Report-owned Taco Bell cost more than $5 each ($12.98 in total with tax).
In 2016, a New York woman claimed that KFC’s “Family Fill Up” bucket was only halfway filled with chicken.
Starbuck SBUX also had a 2018 lawsuit over how much it fills its cups dismissed.
“The District Court concluded that Starbucks’ cups, when filled, hold in excess of 14, 18, and 22 ounces — more than 2 fluid ounces greater than the menu boards in stores represent. As a result, consumers at Starbucks receive at least (and likely more than) the promised beverage amount, and accordingly, are not misled by any failure to fill cups to the brink,” according to OFWLaw.com.
More often than not, such lawsuits are dismissed due to being frivolous but, occasionally, some can be successful.
Energy drink maker Red Bull recently paid $13 million to settle a class action false advertising lawsuit claiming that it misled consumers into thinking that its energy drinks offered benefits beyond “a simple cup of coffee or a caffeine pill.”
Inflation Is A Problem But Will A Slightly Bigger Burger Really Make A Difference?
The plaintiffs of this lawsuit are claiming that misleading consumers into getting less meat is a particularly salient problem given inflation: Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that meat prices rose by more than 20% between 2022 and 2021.
“Burger King’s actions are especially concerning now that inflation, food and meat prices are very high and many consumers, especially lower income consumers, are struggling financially,” the lawsuit further reads.
While meat is going up in price, such an argument may be a difficult one to make since people are still eating at fast-food restaurants in record numbers, and many are going to them as the cheapest option among the rising cost of groceries.
Still, there are options.
For those who want a lot of meat, there is always the four-patty and six-cheese slice King Yeti option from Burger Kings in Japan.