Burger King sent people to McDonald’s for 1-cent Whoppers — and it was a massive success for the fast-food chain

Burger King's Whopper.

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Burger King’s Whopper.
source
Hollis Johnson

  • Burger King debuted a deal in December that allowed customers to get Whoppers for $0.01 if they went near a McDonald’s location.
  • The deal was intended to highlight Burger King’s new app, which the discounted Whopper had to be purchased through.
  • Surprisingly, the bizarre deal was a success, as executives said roughly 4 million people downloaded Burger King’s app between October and the end of December.

Burger King announced a bizarre deal in December.

Customers could get a Whopper for just $0.01. But they had to go to McDonald’s.

The deal, called the “Whopper Detour,” was intended to promote Burger King’s new app. When the app registered that a customer was within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location, it unlocked the deal to order a Whopper for $0.01.

Read more: Burger King is giving away Whoppers for 1 cent – but you have to go to McDonald’s to get them

Usually, a company doesn’t direct customers to visit its biggest rival. But according to executives, the deal was just weird enough to work.


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Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Burger King’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International, released comparable-sales results on Wednesday – ahead of its full fourth-quarter results – and announced leadership changes.

Burger King’s US comparable sales were up 0.8% in the quarter, and executives highlighted the Whopper Detour as a success.

“It was a fun promotion that drove a lot of downloads and also allowed us to focus on our flame-grilling heritage,” Jose Cil, RBI’s newly appointed CEO, said on a call with investors on Wednesday.

According to executives, more than 6 million people have downloaded the Burger King app, a significant increase from October, when executives said that figure was 2 million.