Burger King tests home delivery

The company says it has new technology to keep food hot and crispy in transit.

By Kim Peterson Jan 17, 2012 12:08PM
Image: Hamburger (© BananaStock/Jupiterimages)Can't make it out for a Whopper? Burger King just might bring it to you.

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.
Jan 17, 2012 12:47PM
Who's going to get off their butt to answer the door...
Jan 17, 2012 12:41PM
It's about time one of the fast foodies tried this.  Nothing wrong with a minimum order amount.  We order from a local pizza, ribs and chicken chain all the time.  They have burgers, too, and without the 'thermal packaging technology' (sounds like styrofoam to me) the burgers show up just fine.  So if a local 12 location chain can make it work it should be a slam dunk for a biggie.
Jan 17, 2012 1:32PM
Great, now I won't have to get off my fat #$! to get a lardburger with fries.  Does the heart surgeon make house calls?
Jan 17, 2012 1:05PM
Jan 17, 2012 1:22PM
When I lived in Norfolk back in 1990-1991, KFC tried out delivery.  It didn't last long.  The only problem we experienced with the delivery was a forgotten item (our biscuits).  When we called the store to complain, we we offered a replacement order that we would have to come pick up.  Kind of defeated the point of getting it delivered.  So what happens if BK doesn't make my Whopper my way?  Are they going to send a new one out?  I doubt it.  Most likely, they'll either offer a refund or a replacement that I have to pick up.  I guess all we can do is sit back and see what happens.
Jan 17, 2012 3:07PM
Jan 17, 2012 1:12PM
There are some of America's new jobs we're looking for.Better than nothing?Don't know.But if it means (since its all in urban areas)the food can be delivered by bike messenger or foot traffic(instead of using cars,the insurance can be high)I would say why not
Jan 17, 2012 1:35PM
About time, glad someone came up with this idea. How many times have I been lounging around the house on a weekend., playing my Xbox 360 and zoned out of my mind. Hunger sets in, What do I do , I have to go venture out of my safe house. Man, be so much better to just pick up the phone and make an order. All week long I have to travel here and there, walk around all week long. My weekends are made to relax and take a break. My first order would be a whopper and a coke, maybe some chicken things too. 

I really wish Wendy's would deliver instead.
Jan 17, 2012 1:53PM
This would work great in big city conditions where they could use bikes or runners. This would NOT work great in smaller city or community conditions. For that you would need a delivery service. We already have something like this in our area. It's called Grub Taxi. It delivers from over 30 different restaurants in our area, which helps the restaurants cut costs by not having to pay for added insurance, drivers mileage, etc., as well as increasing sales (which means more jobs). It also helps the community since the elderly or disabled can have quality food delivered to their door. As an added plus, since they do more than one delivery at a time, it also cuts down on pollution and traffic congestion. We also have something called "personal shoppers" who do the shopping for the elderly or disabled, who would also get them take-out if they requested it. As a result, Burger King delivery would not do too well in our area.
Jan 17, 2012 3:58PM
My brother lives in NY City, and McDonald's delivers to his apartment (not just offices) and has done so for the last few years.
Jan 17, 2012 1:54PM
I said all BQ are horrible. I will correct that. There is one in Frisco Texas, an old one that has been there many years, Old design store and everything. They do a good job! That is the only good one I have seen in 15 years.
Jan 17, 2012 1:24PM
Burger King is horrible when you buy it in the store, but to deliver it? It will be horrible! Well come to think of it, it already sucks so bad, you won't know the difference. Many years ago BQ was great! But the last 10 -15 years, they suck! There are 3 BQ's in my area and they are never busy. But I travel all over and they suck everywhere I have been.

Oh great, just what we need.

Horrible hamburgers and gross fries straight to our homes.


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