The next time that craving for a Burger King Whopper and french fries strikes, you can enjoy it without leaving home or work.
Burger King is bringing a test of its BK Delivers program to South Florida this week. The program launching with six restaurants in the Miami area will expand to 35 locations in Miami-Dade and Broward counties by the end of the year. Orders can be placed online at www.BKDelivers.com or by calling 1-855-ORDER-BK.
The program started about a year ago in the Washington, D.C. area, where it grew to a dozen-plus outlets in the capital, Maryland and Virginia. Burger King also offers the service internationally in select countries, including Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Turkey.
“We think that in Miami we’re going to have a stronger response than in D.C.,” said Alex Macedo, senior vice president and general manager of U.S. franchise business for Burger King. “We know exactly how to pick stores. It does best in areas with high population density and where people already have the habit to ask for delivery.’’
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To be eligible for service, the customer must live within a 10-minute drive time of one of the participating locations. Delivery orders require a $10 minimum and a service fee, typically $2. Stores won’t deliver fountain sodas, ICEE beverages, shakes, soft serve ice cream desserts, coffee or breakfast items, but fruit smoothies, bottled water and soft drinks are available. Hours and pricing may vary by location, although most participating restaurants will offer delivery from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The goal is to offer consumers another alternative to pizza and neighborhood restaurants. Other national chains have experimented with the idea, but it has never really gained traction. “Hamburgers and especially french fries have historically not traveled well,” said Dennis Lombardi, an industry consultant with WD Partners. “You have got to be able to create an experience that the consumer wants to repeat. It’s also got to make a significant different to franchisees in terms of effort vs. incremental profit for it to be embraced systemwide.”
Burger King has developed it’s own proprietary thermal packaging design to help ensure that the food is still hot (or cold) and fresh when it arrives. Hot and cold items are placed in separate containers. Plus, french fries are made special order just prior to leaving the store.
“There’s a lot of technology behind this,” Macedo said. “So far we’ve been able to get significant repeat customers. From our initial reading, this is complementary and is not cannibalizing existing business.”
Based on the results of the South Florida test, Burger King is hoping to expand the program across the country. But it would never likely be available at every store — only those in urban areas.