Cannes Lions

Burger King Flaming Heart Grill

SEYMOURPOWELL, London / BURGER KING / 2020

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

How to convince Burger King guests that their burgers really are flame-grilled, when advertising alone has thus far failed to achieve that consistently? And besides, many Burger King markets simply can’t afford traditional advertising but, on the other hand, every outlet around the world gets a periodic make-over, where design can dramatically change the experience of guests.

Unlike most other fast-food joints, Burger King don’t fry their burgers - they’ve been flame-grilling them since 1954, but it turns out that 2 out of 3 people aren’t aware that they flame-grill, and while a third of them are... they simply don’t believe it.

That’s hardly surprising because fast food restaurants typically hide the kitchen from people, which is pretty much the opposite of what most high-end restaurants do. And back there it really didn’t matter if the flames were invisible and the product looked brutal, engineered and industrial.

Idea

Clearly, if people are to believe in the flame, they actually need to see it. So, the idea was to completely rethink the flame-grill and bring it front of house so that guests could see their burgers being flame-grilled.

Strategy

That idea was never going to be simple to achieve. First, it required a ground up rethink of the grill to provide visibility of the flame. Second, that in turn needed a completely new design expression to reinforce the brand’s credentials in store. And third, a reorganisation of the restaurants was necessary to bring it front of house and put it at the heart of the guest experience.

Execution

Just adding a glass window didn’t work, because visibility is quickly compromised and too much heat is lost. Eventually, after endless prototyping of different solutions, the team succeeded with a laminate of materials to maintain the high heat, while safely allowing visibility of the flames.

In parallel, the team redesigned the construction to distance it from its semi-industrial siblings in the back kitchen... and to give it instead the personality of a high-quality professional barbecue, with visual cues in the handles, die-cast metal sides, stainless steel pressings and the thermometer on the outside. In short, a product to be proud of, and a celebration of what Burger King does.

The drive for innovation continued into kitchen layouts for both counter and drive thru, which are reconfigured to maximise the new product’s positioning and impact and put it right at the heart of the guest experience.

Outcome

Now, not only are guests able to see the flames, but the new design is 15% more efficient, reducing cooking and waiting times without compromising quality. And, since its introduction, 60% of guests surveyed noticed the flames as a differentiator for Burger King, while their overall opinion of their food is up 11%.

Completely redesigning this most essential piece of equipment has put a smile on the faces of guests, transforming their dining experience, and physically demonstrating an undeniable truth - that Burger King burgers really are flame-grilled...

...and have been since 1954.

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