Why Burger King Austria Made Plant-Based The Default

In a recent stunt, Burger King encouraged consumers to think about whether meat should always be the norm


3 Minutes Read

A campaign poster for Burger King Austria that reads "Normal Oder Mit Fleisch?" A new Burger King campaign implies meat should be the secondary option - Media Credit: Burger King

A one-time Burger King campaign in Austria required customers to specifically request meat in their burgers.

The fast food chain recently revealed that one in three of its burgers sold in Belgium is vegetarian. (In some central city stores, the ratio rises to one in two.) 

Burger King Austria has since conducted an experimental campaign to encourage more meat-free diners. Those who wanted meat in their burgers had to explicitly ask for it. The standard variation, however, was a vegetarian patty in all sandwiches. 

The consumer trial took place in a restaurant in Margaretengürtel in Vienna.

‘Normal or with meat?’

The meat-free-as-standard stunt launched earlier this month. It directly asked consumers to think about what they are ordering by showcasing a provocative slogan that reads “Normal oder mit fleisch?”(“Normal or with meat?”)

At the point of ordering, a Burger King server asked if customers wanted their burgers made as standard, or with meat in them. In many cases, this led to an explanation that the chain no longer considers animal meat as the only norm for its menu items.

The campaign has spurred debate. A YouTube video with more than 80,000 views shows customers reacting both positively and negatively to the one-time ordering system.

“So what, should I order my coke with meat as well?” asks one disgruntled consumer, before swearing about wanting a “normal” patty on his Whopper. Conversely, another says: “Got it, got it…nice. Like it.”

In Austria, more than a quarter (25.8 percent) of the population identified as flexitarian in 2021. This figure is expected to continue increasing as more consumers reduce their meat intake.

Creating conversation

Burger King Austria’s YouTube video garnered more than 20,000 views in one day. Using the hashtag #normalodermitfleisch, it was intended to spark debate.

“With this question, we want to stimulate the social debate and show that our plant-based alternatives have a confusing taste,” Jan-Christoph Küster, marketing director of the TQSR Group, Austrian master franchisee of Burger King, said in a statement. 

He continued: “Meat is one option, but it is not the only one. We leave it open to our guests what is normal for them: everyone should have the same taste.”

Burger King caters to meat-free diners

The Burger King Austria restaurant experiment comes after a slew of other Burger King locations turned vegetarian or vegan for limited periods. Notable amongst them was London’s flagship restaurant in Leicester Square, which embraced a fully plant-based menu in March this year.

“At Burger King, we are making meatless indulgence a permanent fixture on our menu, because meat no longer comes naturally to everyone.”

“With the provocative question ‘Normal or meat?’, we want to show that we take our customers and their needs seriously. Because from now on, we also serve almost our entire range on a plant-based basis,” Küster said.

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