Burger King opens in South Africa, halaal decision sparks ire

09 May 2013 - 13:39 By Times LIVE
Mr Whopper arrives at Cape Town International Airport.
Mr Whopper arrives at Cape Town International Airport.
Image: Burger King on Facebook

The rumours had been flying around for months but now it’s official: Burger King has arrived… only in Cape Town for now, but arrived nonetheless.

Customers have been split on this new arrival to our shores, with people taking to social networks to express their delight or disappointment, with a lot of patrons saying things like “Can't wait to get my first Whopper!! Mmmmmm”, and congratulations on opening South Africa’s first store.

There have been complaints about the store not having its full menu available yet and most of the disappointment, however, seems to be that the store is halaal and thus does not serve bacon.

Elizca Stemmet-Rademeyer said on the store’s Facebook page: “Utterly dissapointed in Burger King..why no bacon? Some of you r best meals have bacon on them and now we are not allowed to eat it in SA!”

Francois Jooste said: Burger King, I don't understand why all 100% of your stores will be halaal... Steers, Wimpy, Debonairs, Scooters, etc have both halaal and NON-halaal to cater for EVERYONE… The rest of South Africa isn't as halaal as Cape Town”.

Burger King has defended the decision, saying it is based on the fact that they do not want to exclude any South African from having the chance to experience a Burger King product in any of their stores.

“As such we have decided not to serve bacon. We stand by our decision.”

McDonald's South Africa told Times LIVE that all their stores are 100% halaal and not a single store serves bacon in any of their meals.

The presence of Burger King is said to have the potential to shake things up and will definitely make a difference to consumers, if not the franchise industry as a whole, according to the Franchise Association of South Africa executive director, Vera Valasis.

“The extra competition will further develop growth opportunities for existing and future quick service brands looking to compete in the market,” Valasis said in a statement.

The impact of Burger King’s branding and brand experiences largely remains to be seen. The brand’s South African website says: “Burger King is there for you”.

As to the fast food chain opening in other cities, Burger King says nothing is 100% confirmed as yet, “but do keep an eye on this [Facebook] page for updates and new stores being opened”.