Burger King is hoping to set aside its rivalry with McDonald’s Corp., at least for a day.
The fast-food chain is reaching out to its longtime competitor with an unusual proposal: create a hybrid of each company’s signature burger -- Big Mac and Whopper -- and then sell it at a pop-up restaurant in Atlanta for one day. The profits would go to an organization that promotes world peace. Call it “McWhopper” diplomacy.
“We’re being completely transparent with our approach because we want them to take it seriously,” Fernando Machado, senior vice president for global brand management at Burger King, said in a statement. “It would be amazing if McDonald’s agrees to do this.”
Burger King created a website, mcwhopper.com, that includes a proposed recipe for the McWhopper. The sandwich has six ingredients from the Big Mac (including special sauce, all-beef patty and cheese), and six from the Whopper (flame-grilled patty, onion, pickles, etc.).
Burger King, a division of the Warren Buffett-backed Restaurant Brands International Inc., has also mocked up hybrid employee uniforms and packaging for the burgers. To draw attention to its gambit, the company took out full-page advertisements Wednesday in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, the hometown paper for Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s. The ads take the form of an open letter to McDonald’s about the proposal.
In a response posted on Facebook Wednesday, McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said his company would “be in touch” about the burger proposal.
“We love the intention but think our two brands could do something bigger to make a difference,” he said. “We commit to raise awareness worldwide, perhaps you’ll join us in a meaningful global effort?”
Easterbrook also suggested that a war analogy is overstated when it comes to the competition over selling burgers.
“Let’s acknowledge that between us there is simply a friendly business competition and certainly not the unequaled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war,” he said, adding that “a simple phone call will do next time.”
The event would be held on Sept. 21, known as World Peace Day. The proceeds would benefit Peace One Day, a nonprofit that wants to make that date an “annual day of global unity, a day of intercultural cooperation on a scale that humanity has never known.”
Burger King said it chose Atlanta for the pop-up restaurant because it’s roughly halfway between the headquarters of the two companies, which are the two largest burger chains in the U.S.
Burger King says it thinks the McWhopper can bring a one-day “cease-fire” in the burger wars, along with promoting the efforts of Peace One Day.
“As two of the world’s largest brands, we’re in the perfect position to influence change and leverage our size, scope and resources to help make the world a better place,” the company said in a video on the McWhopper site. “Let’s end the beef, with beef.”