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Burger King wants to add a Michelin star to its crown jewels

Burger king ad with burger photo
Photo: Burger King Belgium

The year was 1900, and a pair French brothers, Andre and Edouard Michelin, were looking for ideas to boost the business of the tire business they had started 11 years earlier. Historically Michelin’s business had primarily been in bicycle tires, but Andre knew that the future would belong to the horseless carriage (even though there were only 300 of them on the streets of France at the time). The company couldn’t sell its innovative automobile tires if there were no automobiles, and if people were going to start dropping their hard-earned francs on them, they needed a damn good reason to do so. And what better reason is there to hit the open road than food? The brothers decided to create a guide of the best restaurants and hotels across France, with maps showing how curious diners could get to these far-off destinations in their fancy new horseless carriages. Since that fateful decision was made over a century ago, the Michelin guide has become one of the most important metrics in fine dining, its coveted stars sparingly awarded to the crème de la crème of the restaurant world. And yet, in its entire 120-year history, the Michelin guide has never awarded a single star to Burger King. Imagine that.

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Burger King’s Belgian arm believes its new Master Burger is more than deserving of Michelin consideration. In a new ad campaign, BK Belgium’s CEO Kevin Derycke makes a direct plea to the guide’s inspectors, whetting their appetites with an enticing photo that doesn’t resemble anything I’ve ever been served at a Burger King.

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Photo: Burger King Belgium
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To put a some pressure on Michelin inspectors, Burger King Belgium is trying to get the power of the people on its side with a petition; currently, the petition has over 300 signatures and is hoping to make it to 500.

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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DISCUSSION

Michelin is to me the last bastion of the dying art of expertise. Supplanted in the popular consciousness in the United States first by the Zagnut...er, Zagat survey and later by Yelp (proof, as if proof were needed, that the widespread democratization of information that is the Internet was the single worst idea in human history that didn’t involve a genocide or a shooting war), Michelin unapologetically tells that trend to go sit down with the other kids, the grown-ups are having a serious conversation.

Of course, this metaphor is only made more obvious by the low-hanging fruit that is comparing Burger King’s PR to a developmentally stunted child begging Mom for attention.