Burger King Faces Whopper Lawsuit As More Customers Challenge Fast Food Giants Over Portion Sizes—Including McDonald’s, Wendy’s


Burger King has been told it must defend itself in court against claims its signature Whopper burgers are too small after a judge dismissed the company’s efforts to have the case thrown out, the latest in a growing number of similar challenges as disgruntled customers push back against what they say is a disappointing mismatch between what fast food joints actually serve and the glossy products they advertise.

Burger King is being sued over the size of its burgers.

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Key Facts

U.S. District Judge Roy Altman in Miami last week rejected Burger King’s efforts to throw out a class action lawsuit from customers accusing the chain of exaggerating the size of its flagship Whopper burger on in-store menu boards.

The lawsuit claims the company’s luxe depiction—including a meatier patty and ingredients that “overflow over the bun”—makes the Whopper appear to be 35% larger and contain double the amount of meat than what customers are actually served.

Burger King denied wrongdoing and said reasonable consumers do not expect every burger to look “exactly like an advertising photo.”

Altman, whose decision was made public on Friday, said it was not the court’s place to decide what American consumers find significant, adding that it should be up to a jury to “tell us what reasonable people think.”

Altman’s ruling allows the customers to pursue Burger King for what they claim is breach of contract, unjust enrichment—when one party benefits at the expense of another—and negligent misrepresentation.

However, Altman dismissed the customers’ claims against Burger King’s online and television adverts, stating the company had not promised the burger would be a particular size or weight when served.

A Burger King spokesperson told Forbes “the plaintiffs’ claims are false” and that the patties shown in its ads are “the same patties” used in the Whopper sandwiches it serves.

Key Background

Fast food joints have faced an increasing number of legal challenges in recent years over the disconnect between advert and reality. In July, Taco Bell was sued over its allegedly scant portion sizes and both McDonald’s and Wendy’s are fighting similar lawsuits as Burger King. In 2016, Subway settled a case claiming its Footlong subs were not always a foot long and this year prevailed over a woman who claimed its tuna was not actually tuna.

What To Watch For

It’s not clear if the case will ever make it to trial and company’s often opt to settle claims out of court for various reasons. Earlier efforts to settle have proven unsuccessful, according to Reuters.

Further Reading

Major fast food chains like Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Burger King are being targeted by more false advertising lawsuits — but few unhappy customers are reaping the rewards (Insider)

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