Burger King Whopper Lawsuit: Fast Food Chain Accused of Serving Up Too-Small Patties


Key takeaways

  • Burger King faces a class action lawsuit over the size of its Whoppers
  • Wendy’s, Taco Bell and McDonald’s face similar claims
  • In good news for investors, the company’s share price was unaffected

Burger King is being taken to court over false advertising for the size of its burgers. Only a judge can determine whether the lawsuit is one big Whopper, but Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, reported some tasty financials for the fast food chain that has us guessing they’re not too worried. Here’s the latest.

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What’s the Burger King lawsuit about?

A U.S. judge in Miami has rejected Burger King’s application to get a class action lawsuit thrown out concerning its famous Whopper sandwich. The issue? Burger King customers feel cheated on what’s advertised versus what they actually get.

Burger King must now defend against the claim that the depiction of the Whopper in advertising is up to 35% bigger and with better fillings than what customers receive. Burger King defended itself by saying it’s not required to deliver burgers that look “exactly like the picture” and that the “flame-grilled beef patties portrayed in our advertising are the same patties used in the millions of Whopper sandwiches we serve to guests nationwide”.

It’s the latest in a crop of class action lawsuits filed across the country against restaurant chains serving up customers some sub-par food. Taco Bell faces a lawsuit over the size of its Crunchwrap Supremes, while McDonald’s and Wendy’s also face similar cases. Each seeks $5 million in damages.

What was the market reaction?

Since news of the lawsuit emerged last week, Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King as well as Tim Hortons, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs, has seen its share price rise 2.8%.

The conglomerate reported second-quarter earnings in August, which saw earnings and revenue beat expectations at 85 cents per share based on $1.78 billion in sales, an 8% increase from the same time last year.

Strong growth at Tim Hortons and Burger King accounted for the rise in sales, though the latter saw relatively flat traffic, which had some investors concerned when rivals like McDonald’s have seen increased footfall.

The bottom line

Burger King has to face the music on the class action lawsuit, but given the damages only amount to $5 million, it hasn’t left Wall Street pressed about what happens next. What the company really needs to focus on is matching rivals in footfall traffic as consumers turn to budget restaurants in the cost of living crisis.

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