The Burger King Whopper not only defines the fast-food chain but is an iconic sandwich known and loved the world over. Despite this popularity not many people know much about the Whopper beyond that it makes for a delicious lunch or dinner. We’re here to rectify that and fill you in on some of the secrets behind the Whopper.
10. It’s Older Than Big Mac
We all have heard about the fierce competition between Burger King and McDonald’s. The two giants sell practically the same thing. They both had their humble beginnings around the middle of the 20th century. But long before McDonald’s had introduced its famous Big Mac, the Whopper was sitting on customer’s plates with its famous smile. In fact, the Whopper made its first appearance in the menu of Burger King in 1957. That’s 11 full years before Big Mac became a thing in 1968. Long before burger joints knew that the size of the burger mattered, a burger place came up with the idea of serving an extra large burger to its customers. Jim McLamore, the co-founder of Burger King, wasn’t going to let an opportunity like that pass. He decided to serve an even larger burger than the rival joint and name it the Whopper. The name implies something huge. And that was just the beginning of a marketing war that will target the consumer for decades to come. By the time McDonald’s caught up on the “size does matter” mantra, and introduced its Big Mac as a response, the fast food world was never been the same ever since.
9. First Whopper Sold For 37 cents
You read that right. That’s the original price of the first ever Whopper to hit the menu and land on people’s tables. Of course what this means is that inflation has gone up, made a huge hole in the roof, and aimed for the sky. But let’s not forget that this was 1957 after all. Baby Boomers were making their way to the world at unprecedented rates and life was much much simpler back then. You could get 3 Whoppers for $1.11. Sounds like heaven, right? But to be fair, prices did drop back to close to its original price around 2012. While the average Whopper is about $4 and change, to celebrate the company’s 55th anniversary, the price of the Whopper came down to 55 cents. Now that’s something you don’t see every day. Beating inflation, crushing the competition, and scoring a big PR hit, all in one big swoop. For just $1.10 you could enjoy two Whoppers and feel like all was good with the world once again. Just like grandpa used to roll. Sadly the good times don’t last. Once the campaign was over, prices of the Whopper went back up to normal and if you ordered two sandwiches it would set you back a sawbuck.
8. The War of the Burgers
We hinted that there’s a burger war going on between the two fast-food giants, Burger King and McDonald’s. Now let’s elaborate without belaboring the point. First off, as we already stated, the first large burger was King Burger’s creation, not McDonald’s. But how do the two iconic sandwiches, Big Mac and the Whopper, fare when squared off? Let’s talk about the patty. Because in the end, that’s what the real comparison should be about. The Whopper comes with a quarter pound patty that is much larger than the patty you get with the Big Mac. In fact, McDonald’s had tried to come up with a quarter pound patty too. However, that sandwich, the Big ‘N Tasty, didn’t stand the test of time. So comparing patty to patty, the Whopper wins big time. That doesn’t mean that the two franchises haven’t been stealing ideas from each other since forever. In 1997, the year McDonald’s had tried to introduce its own version of a quarter pound patty, Burger King tried to seduce the customers with a double patty called the ‘Big King’. Even the name was derivative. Neither of those attempts at beating the competition by copying it, nor any other attempt since then, had managed to lure customers. So it seems the war of the burgers will continue without a definite winner.
7. The Angry Whopper
Change is the key to keeping your customers happy. That’s the credo of every fast food chain out there. You can’t just sit on your laurels and hope that your happy customers will keep coming back and eating the same food you offer them. Because that just doesn’t happen. People get tired of the same menu and demand something new every now and then. So Burger King not being the company to let people down decided to bring in something new to spice the menu up. And spice it up it sure did. Using a hot concoction of jalapeno, pepper jack cheese, and spicy crisp onions, one creative, and possibly vindictive chef, came up with the perfect spicy Whopper. That was in 2009 and the ‘Angry Whopper’ as it was called had a mixed reaction. Some people thought it was excessively spicy and that every meal brought tears to their eyes. Not out of fondness or nostalgia, but out of compassion to their burning mouths. Other customers, though, were not that impressed. They stated that the spicy Whopper wasn’t spicy enough and pointed to a meal at Taco Bell’s for reference. Needless to say the whole fire was put out pretty soon since the “Angry Whopper” was after all a limited edition not meant to last. However a few years later, in 2016 to be exact, another incarnation of the “Angry Whopper” manifested itself on the menu with more spiciness. This one was called “Angriest Burger.” Burger King should really hire some new talent for their naming department. This talent is available. Just putting it out there.
6. How Whopper Jr. Came Into Existence?
As American painter and visionary Bob Ross used to say, ‘there are no mistakes. Only happy accidents.’ And the story of the Whopper Jr. is a confirmation of that. It all started in 1963 in Puerto Rico. There was a new Burger King restaurant about to open and everybody was getting hyped about it. Not least of all the owner, Luis Arenas-Perez. But as with all big events, there’s always something that comes up last minute and threatens to spoil the fun for everybody. In this case, it was the absence of the molds. Since this was the first Burger King to open in Carolina, Puerto Rico, nobody had the molds for the buns. You can’t make buns without molds and the Whopper has its own custom-made molds due to its size. So now what? Perez cannot delay the grand opening because the molds haven’t arrived from the States yet. At the same time, he cannot just dish our Whoppers in regular buns and hope nobody would notice. And that’s when the happy accident came to the world. Perez decided on the spot to use regular buns and name the creation “Whopper Jr.” And that’s how quick thinking can save the day.
5. You Can’t Call it ‘Whopper’ here. Not in our town
Texas is a state with its own style, culture, and way of life. And Texans are proud people, maybe even more so than any other state. And Burger King was about to know first hand one thing or two about this famed Texan pride. San Antonio is a wonderful city. It always has been. Except for one small flaw. It didn’t have a Burger King. To remedy this shocking oversight, the company made arrangements to open a few outlets in the city post haste. But there was a small problem. Another burger chain called ‘Whopper Burger’ was using the W word not just in its name but in the menu items. Moreover, that small local chain had the copyrights to the word ‘Whopper’ in the city. So even though Burger King was operating in the city, it couldn’t use the W word in its advertising. Not in San Antonio, you don’t. That went on for years. The famous Whopper was called ‘deluxe’ and nobody was happy about it. It wasn’t until the owner of Whopper Burger had passed and his widow had agreed to sit down at the table and negotiate that a solution to the stalemate has been reached. In 1983, the widow agreed to sell her franchise to Burger King and San Antonio was able to order a Whopper from Burger King for the first time ever.
4. The Halloween Whopper
No this is not a fairy tale. Everything about this story is true and verified. And it’s not the first time Burger King has tried to spook its customers with a scary-looking bun either. Back in 2014, a genius from marketing decided to celebrate Halloween with a black Whopper. Except it wasn’t a Whopper at all. It was a black bun with A1 Steak Sauce and it was aptly called ‘A1 Halloween Whopper.’ Needless to say, the freaky looking bun had failed to impress anyone. Let alone Whopper fans who immediately saw the ruse and shunned this imposter in Whopper clothes. But you know what they say in marketing, if you fail once, just keep hammering the customers with similar inept ideas until they get tired and give up. Four years later in 2018, another monstrosity came out from the kitchens of Burger King. Also to supposedly celebrate Halloween. But this time it was green and it was called ‘Nightmare King.’ At least they got the name right this time. Because this nightmare didn’t last long. Pretty soon people pinched themselves awake and went back to their regular Whoppers. Just another Halloween idea that bites the dust and goes up in smoke.
3. Lose a Friend for a Whopper
We all know how fickle friends are. Especially the ones we make online. They’re never there when we need them and they only seem to contact us when they need something. Not the ideal kind of friend you’d like to have. This applies more on Facebook friends than any other friends anywhere else. To help you shed this unnecessary burden of unwanted and ingrateful friends, Burger King invited people to trade their Facebook friends with a Whopper. Not a bad deal, eh? All you had to do is unfriend 10 people on Facebook and you get one Whopper. For that deal, I’d delete my Facebook account. But Facebook wasn’t happy naturally. It insisted on letting the unfriended friends know that they were not worth one Whopper to someone. Which is harsh and cold, to say the least. Why would Facebook want to bring misery to its users in such a fashion? Anyway, that request put Burger King and its program in a tight spot, so to speak. And fearing a backlash, the campaign was pulled quickly. But not before it broke over 234,000 online friendships. Well, you know your friendship isn’t up to snuff when your so-called-friend is willing to sell you for a Whopper.
2. The Whopper and Ellen DeGeneres Go Way Back
So what happens when you’re invited to perform your comedy sketch on stage but you don’t really have anything? All the material is gone and your silver tongue has turned to lead. This is the exact situation young Ellen DeGeneres found herself into when she was just 20 years old and still trying to find her first steps in the world of standup comedy. Her friends had urged her to go up and wow the audience that night. But Ellen was too scared to say anything. So she did the only thing any of us would do in this situation. She picked up her Whopper, milkshake, and fries and took them with her to the stage. There she proceeded to eat without saying a word. Did the audience heckle her? How can you heckle a girl eating a Whopper? Nobody was satisfied with this performance, except Ellen herself who was really full after that meal. But her food demonstration wasn’t a total loss. A few days later she was invited to perform at a university campus and this time she went on stage with some good material.
1. What’s in a Burger
We all love our burgers. Can you imagine a burger without cheese? Doesn’t feel right, right? The same applies to the patty. It wouldn’t be called a burger if there was no burger in it. But have you ever wondered what’s in the patty itself? We always fuss about the sauce and the extra cheese, but we never take the time to ask about the burger patty itself. We just take it for granted that the patty has beef. At least that’s what Burger King had us to believe for years. Until 2013 that is. Burger King had to reveal that some of the patties used in its burgers, notably the ones stuffing the Whoppers buns, had horsemeat in them. This debacle took place in the UK. There were an outcry and immediate repercussions. The Irish supplier responsible for this scandal lost his contract with Burger King and the company took its business elsewhere. Notably to Germany and Italy. We’re not saying that Burger King knew about it and covered it up because that’s not what happened. We’re just saying it’s always prudent to ask about what’s in your burger and whether it’s really beef you’re eating?