Burger King, in a bid to catch up with McDonalds and take a bite out of the competition posed by fast-food rivals such as Wendys, is experimenting with home delivery. Customers can order online or by phone, and the next thing they know -- ding-dong! -- dinner is at the front door.
Right now, delivery is available only in the Washington, D.C., area and only from a handful of restaurants.
But, if successful, the pilot program could see a nationwide rollout.
Customers will pay a $2 delivery charge for a minimum order of $8 to $10, depending on the store. For now, orders will be accepted only from customers within a 10-minute drive of a restaurant, and the goal is delivery within 30 minutes or less. The big question might be: Will those fries be a soggy mess when they arrive?
Nope, says Kristen Hauser, a spokeswoman for the Miami-based company. She told The Times via email: "New delivery packaging technology, in conjunction with thermal bags, keep food hot & fresh."
You can decide whether ever-faster delivery of fast food is desirable -- or disastrous for a country struggling with an ever-expanding collective waistline.
But one thing is for sure: Home delivery is convenient, and Americans love convenience.
In case you're wondering why it took a fast-food chain so long to think this one up, Burger King has long been in the delivery service -- internationally. The chain "has had great success with it all across the globe including in Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Columbia and Peru," Hauser said. "We are currently testing the service to bring this convenience to the United States, starting with just a few restaurants in the DC area."
There are no specific plans for a national rollout, the statement said. The company plans to expand the testing to 16 stores by the end of this month.
Not all menu items are available for delivery. The company won't deliver fountain drinks, milkshakes, coffee or breakfast foods, Hauser said.