Is Burger King telling whoppers about its burgers? An Arizona woman and others seem to think so, as they’ve initiated a class-action lawsuit against the fast-food giant, alleging that Burger King engaged in false advertising regarding the size of its meat patties.
Attorney Anthony Russo originally filed the lawsuit last year in Florida, where Burger King is headquartered. The suit includes a group of 20 plaintiffs across 11 states, with the Arizona woman being one of them.
Their primary claim is that Burger King misrepresented its burgers as approximately 35% larger than their actual size and containing more than double the meat they really contain. Additionally, they accuse the chain of violating state consumer protection laws, breaching sales contracts, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.
The plaintiffs are seeking monetary damages to compensate those who felt deceived after purchasing misrepresented menu items from Burger King. They are also requesting injunctive relief that would require Burger King to rectify its advertising or stop selling the food promoted in allegedly deceptive ads.
According to the lawsuit, Burger King began exaggerating its burger sizes in advertisements in September 2017. One of the plaintiffs, Summer Adamski from Arizona, purchased a Whopper, expecting it to be similar in size to the images in the ads and on the menu board. However, the actual burger she received was noticeably smaller, resulting in financial harm, as per the complaint.
This story mirrors the experiences of other plaintiffs in the case. It’s not just the Whopper; court documents reveal that Burger King inflated the size of almost all their menu items as of May 2022, including sandwiches like the Whopper Melt and the Fully Loaded Croisann’Which.
Burger King has countered these claims, arguing that reasonable consumers understand that food in advertisements is styled to look as appealing as possible. They also point to their online description of the Whopper, which specifies it as a “1/4 lb* of savory flame-grilled beef topped with juicy tomatoes, fresh lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, ketchup, crunchy pickles, and diced white onions on a soft sesame seed bun.” The asterisk indicates that the weight is calculated using a patty before it’s cooked.
Furthermore, Burger King asserts that they are not obligated to serve burgers that match the images exactly.
Recently, U.S. District Judge Roy Altman of Florida’s Southern District Court ruled that Burger King did not deceive consumers through their TV and online advertisements and did not violate consumer protection laws. However, he did find merit in the allegations of negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment, which will proceed to further litigation.
Judge Altman emphasized that it’s up to consumers to determine whether the difference between what was promised and what was delivered was substantial enough to affect their purchasing decisions. This determination will likely be made by a jury if the case progresses to that stage.
Burger King has stated that the allegations made by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are untrue and that their advertising accurately represents the Whopper’s patty size.
In response to the lawsuit, plaintiffs’ attorney Anthony Russo clarified that these individuals were not seeking vast sums of money due to receiving a burger that didn’t match the advertisement. Instead, they aim to bring about change and transparency in advertising. Ongoing situations with fast-food giants such as Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s highlight a more widespread pattern of consumer consciousness and activism.