|Sharp Cheddar: Woman Finds Razor Blade in Burger King Cheeseburger
By: Shawn Paul Wood
No matter how rough the neighborhood, I'm sure when the PR, marketing and advertising teams of Burger King came up with "Have it your way," they didn't mean with a razor blade snugly nestled between the patty and the cheese. Nonetheless, that is exactly what happened in Willits, Calif., according to this article from USA Today. Talk about a whopper of a PR mess. (See what I did there.)
The article reports that after police investigated, they discovered that the incident wasn't malicious but of a questionable internal policy by the local Burger King franchisee, which permitted loose razor blades used for cleaning to be kept in the food preparation area. Really? Really? Just what are you cleaning? Does this particular Burger King only hire masochistic emos and goths into cutting? So far, no charges have been filed but now the state health department is looking into this matter. To wit, Burger King released a doltful statement:
You know, you had me right until the end. You mean to tell me that the burger giant actually thought a good idea to place a note in its handbook that reads something like, "Okay, kids and space cadets. We realize you are idiots, but no razor blades near the meat. That's a no-no." Mr. Piedra continued his line of genius in a recent phone interview:
"Food safety is a top priority for Burger King restaurant globally," says spokesman Miguel Piedra. "Burger King Corp's strict food handling procedures clearly outline that razor blades are not permitted in or near food preparation areas at any time."
Who hires these nitwits? Some temp agency for the PR displaced?! I hate to break the news to Miguel here, but that is not good crisis communications. What about...oh, the lady that almost swallowed a blade? And instead of throwing your franchisees under the bus, let's focus on that whole homemade shanks for cleaning thing, eh? What if she died? Can you imagine what Miguel's statement would have been then? I shudder to think. And the woman in question?
"It was a franchisee — not a company-owned or company-operated store...it was an isolated incident...we're making sure that there are no razor blades in that restaurant moving forward."
The woman who bit on the burger, Yolanda Orozco, a local resident, is doing fine. "Somebody is very careless at Burger King," she told local TV station KXTV. Well, ya' think? Good thing she checked to see if there were no onions on her burger because that's when she spotted the blade hiding beneath a blanket of cheese.
MEMO TO THE KING: With PR work and corporate statements like that, I have a feeling that customers are going to insist you have something their way. No profits, which is what happens during case studies of what not to do when faced with food issues like instruments used to cut cocaine found in an all-beef patty. Jack in the Box would never let that happen...would he?
Shawn Paul Wood
is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here
or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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