About a month ago, we (me and @ndoto) passed a Burger King that had a large banner out front: Now Hiring Delivery Drivers. Delivery drivers? Local restaurants have had a type of local delivery before, using a service called â€œWaiter on the Wayâ€ â€“ but delivery direct from Burger King? This was new, and something I had never heard about previously. Then, last week we received the following postcard in the mail:
Needless to say, we were curious. So, we decided to give it a try Saturday night.
There were two methods of placing delivery, just like with most major pizza chains: phone, or website. Since delivery is very (very) restricted right now, the website takes your address in an attempt to determine if youâ€™re in a deliverable area. I say â€œattemptâ€, because it kept saying our address was not within the delivery area. We tried several variations before giving up and calling the phone number. Later on, I found out that while the website didnâ€™t accept â€œSouthâ€ or â€œS.â€, it did accept just â€œSâ€. It needs to be more fault tolerant than that.
Anyway, placing the order over the phone was rather painless, mostly because we already knew what we wanted. There is no way to access the menu online unless you have a deliverable address, so if you donâ€™t want one of the items listed on the postcard above, you have to already be familiar with BKâ€™s menu â€“ and pray itâ€™s a deliverable item. The person taking the order was even familiar with our address, and knew that it required interacting with a call box â€“ a pleasant surprise considering that most local pizza chains are still stymied by our address.
The food was delivered about 20 minutes later, just like any other food delivery. The food was pulled out of an insulated sleeve, and â€“ since we paid with credit card over the phone â€“ just left a tip and signed the credit card slip.
All right, so what about that â€œnew packaging technologyâ€? Turns out styrofoam is new again. It wasnâ€™t just a normal syrofoam container, however. The post card describes how it keeps the beef hot and the veggies cool. Well, they do this by making a styrofoam sandwich container with two compartments. The lower part contained the bottom bun, the burger, the cheese, and the red onion. There is then a styrofoam divider and an upper half, which contains the lettuce, tomato and upper bun half.
The fries are packaged in a box with holes in the top to let the steam escape. Itâ€™s very similar to how you receive BK fries in the restaurant, but more secure.
So does it work? Sort of. The burger definitely fares better packaged this way than if it were just wrapped in paper like in the restaurant. However, while their â€œtwo compartmentâ€ theory is clever, itâ€™s not perfect.
The veggies werenâ€™t cool. They were cooler than the burger, sure. But they were warm. The burger was a perfect temperature, however keeping the lower bun in the bottom half was a big mistake. Steam from the burger condensed at the top of the container, ran down the sides, and collected at the bottom, making the lower bun soggy and squishy. Not good.
Obviously they package it this way because itâ€™s most similar to how the burger is actually formed â€“ bun, meat, cheese, veggies, bun. But really, the veggies and both buns need to be on the bottom â€“ cold air sinks. The burger, cheese and other hot ingredients should be on top â€“ hot air rises. But then the consumer might actually need to think to put their meal back together, and we canâ€™t have that, can we?
The fries werenâ€™t bad. They werenâ€™t soggy, but they were unusually stiff. I like a crispy exterior to my fries and they didnâ€™t have that. I think maybe they lost a bit too much of their heat. Not sure. BKâ€™s fries are lackluster to begin with, though, so I guess they did what they could with what they had.
All in all, their delivery service is on the right track. They need to make some tweaks in order to truly make it viable. But theyâ€™ve definitely put thought into it, and I appreciate that. If we do the delivery again, Iâ€™ll take pictures â€“ and maybe there will be some improvements.