Retail Wire: Burger King sets the dining mood with a ‘Whopperish’ aesthetic

Retail Wire: Burger King sets the dining mood with a ‘Whopperish’ aesthetic January 16, 2020

Photo: Synergy Group

Burger King is testing out a new look at two of its locations, and the new dining experience is looking high-concept.

Table lighting that incorporates the Burger King crown and light fixtures up above that are designed as modernist takes on the restaurant’s signature Whopper are two of the new design features on display, according to a KDSK news report covering the St. Louis Burger King location testing the concept. The restaurant also features white subway tiles on the floor and bench seats inspired by classic Cadillac cars meant to bring to mind the freedom of the open road in the U.S. of days past.

The restaurant appears to be built on the notion that high-concept design features meant to evoke a particular mood — in this case, the “Whopperishness” — can improve a dining experience.

Burger King is not the only restaurant experimenting with creating a brand-evocative ambiance.

Chipotle, for instance, recently announced as part of its design overhaul that refreshed locations would have a direct line of sight into the kitchen in order to evoke the company’s commitment to transparency. Detractors, however, questioned if the “transparency” customers were supposed to experience would be worth the possibility that employees would be made to feel uncomfortable and under constant scrutiny.

Many quick-serve restaurants in the last decade have gotten serious about modernizing not just their look and feel, but their operations.

For instance, Burger King’s main rival, McDonald’s, has begun rolling out such technological enhancements as in-store touchscreen ordering and has continued experimenting with new solutions like predictive, AI-driven ordering at the drive-thru.

Burger King’s mode of competing against the Golden Arches has largely been conceptual, rather than technological, often using offbeat advertising campaigns to poke fun at McDonald’s.

There has been an element of technology at play in some of Burger King’s trolling as well, though. For instance, one campaign used geofencing to send a coupon for a one-cent Whopper and directions to the nearest Burger King to anyone within 600 feet of 14,000 McDonald’s locations.

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