Burger King is a well known global fast food restaurant that sells large white breaded buns filled with patties of chicken, beef or vegetarian alternatives. These are accompanied by potato fries, onion rings and sweet treats like chocolate cakes and ice-creams. Drinks include milkshakes, coffees, carbonated soft drinks like cola and fruit juices.
The first Burger King to reopen in the country is located at 26 Park Road South, Havant, Hampshire PO9 1HB. Other outlets that have opened this week are in Dundee, Aberdeen, Reading, Hillington, Southampton, Merton and Springfield Quay in Glasgow according to The News in Portsmouth. (1)
On Thursday a long snaking lane of vehicles wound around the popular premises waiting patiently for over an hour, to take their turn to taste their favourite fast food burgers again. The huge queue affected traffic flow in the nearby retail park in which only Pets at Home and Halfords and the supermarkets Tesco and Marks and Spencer are legally able to trade to the public this May.
The ‘Drive-Thru’ is open from 12pm to 9pm every day but the restaurant is still closed. The Burger King team are all wearing personal protective equipment with masks and gloves ensuring that the transfer of any harmful germs are avoided. Existing store employees are running the operation and the company is not looking for any new staff whilst the trial takes place.
Government restrictions on maintaining a safe 2 meter distance between members of the public mean the ‘Drive Thru’ has now been redesigned and has now just reopened in several locations in the UK.
Customers can order in advance online and also download the digital app to select from the take away menu swiftly from their mobile devices. People can then become a loyalty scheme member and “join the BK Kingdom”. (2)
The limited menu features their signature dishes the Whopper, Chicken Royale and Bacon Double Cheeseburger. Residents can also get meals delivered by ordering from the famous eating place via the delivery companies ‘Just Eat’ or ‘Deliveroo’ who charge a premium for their services.
The company have increased their cleaning and hygiene protocols to minimise any risks from spreading Covid-19 to diners. The chain announced it would donate a thousand meals a day to support key workers at this most difficult time in healthcare for the country. Katie Evans marketing director at Burger King told The Guardian that “the restaurants would give away 1000 meals a week to NHS staff based nearby.” (3)
Residents were shocked to see the unexpected congestion near Havant High Street which has been nearly empty for the last seven weeks. They were also disappointed to see some rubbish blowing around the car park, after the rush saw hundreds of families passing through to pick up their lunches and dinners from busy assistants at the ‘royal cafe’s’ kitchen window.
A significant amount of key workers live in this area working for the local hospitals, care services, shops, emergency services and travel operators. Therefore some drivers will be hungry after a hard shift and stopping off at the only place open for some tasty and filling hot cuisine on a tight budget. Clearly some Hampshire men and women were desperate to get their ‘fried fix’ from the American style eating house.
At the same time the daily government guidelines instruct that everyone across the British Isles should stay at home except for very limited purposes including “shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.” (4)
The coronavirus prevention measures introduced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson caused the widespread shutdown of all restaurants in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the middle of March. Until then Burger King served “more than 11 million guests (daily that) visit over 13,000 Burger King® restaurants near them in 97 countries around the world. And they do so because our fast food restaurants are known for serving high-quality, great-tasting and affordable food.” declares the companies website. (2)
Apparently more than a month without the joy of a freshly fried ‘dirty burger’ was far too long for a lot of locals. Everybody in the country has had to deal with big unexpected changes this year and also made some real sacrifices, all without many of their usual retail pick me ups. Hundreds of consumers happily waited a long time to receive their special recipe hot culinary treasures from the well loved royal hamburger brand. Burger King has been able to adapt to new trading conditions and is certainly still a real success on the south coast.
(1) ‘Burger King drive-through in Havant is first branch to reopen during coronavirus lockdown’ Neil Fatkin, The News, 29 April 2020 Burger King Opens Havant, The News
(2) Burger King Website, 04 May 2020 Burgr King website
(3) ‘Burger King, KFC and Pret announce limited UK reopenings’ Steven Morris, The Guardian,16 April 2020 Burger King, KFC, Pret announce limited repenings, The Guardian
(4) ‘Guidance: Staying at home and away from others (social distancing)’ Cabinet Office, Gov.UK, 4 May 2020 Staying at Home Away From Others, Gov UK