Burger King tests home delivery
The company says it has new technology to keep food hot and crispy in transit.
The fast-food chain has begun delivering to homes in Washington, D.C., USA Today reports. If the test goes well, the King may expand the service to other cities.
Home delivery has always been a challenge for the food and beverage business. Pizza restaurants obviously have found success, but burgers and fries don't hold up quite as well in transit. They also lose some appeal in the microwave. Finally, the size of a fast-food order isn't normally large enough to justify the expense of delivery.
So why is Burger King doing it? The now privately held company tells USA Today that it has created "thermal packaging technology" that can keep Whoppers hot and french fries crispy. So no need to reheat your order in the microwave.
The orders have to be fairly substantial -- $8 to $10 at a minimum, depending on the store -- and Burger King adds a $2 delivery fee.
Burger King added a few more rules, according to USA Today. Customers must be within a 10-minute drive of the store, breakfast items are off the delivery menu, and sodas will come in bottles.
The trial is underway at four restaurants, and will expand to 16 restaurants by next week. Area residents can check availability by visiting bkdelivers.com.
McDonald's (MCD) has found success with home delivery in several cities in India, launching one nationwide phone number that handles delivery orders for the country. McDonald's tried deliveries from 40 of its Manhattan restaurants in 1994 but now has just two restaurants in Manhattan that deliver only to offices. The Wendy's Co. (WEN) doesn't have any significant delivery service.
Home delivery is one of the first big moves from Burger King since it was bought out by a private investment firm in 2010. Its stock was removed from the market. The investment firm -- funded largely by three Brazilian billionaires -- was expected to cut costs heavily in its efforts to revamp the chain.
A home-delivery trial seems to run contrary to that cost-cutting philosophy. But under private ownership, Burger King has a little more room to experiment with new strategies. If home delivery works, Burger King will set itself apart from rivals in an important way.
Oh great, just what we need.
Horrible hamburgers and gross fries straight to our homes.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.