Traffic is bad in many parts of the world, especially in one of the most congested cities in the world: Mexico City. On average, people there apparently gain an additional 59 minutes of travel time a day, which adds up to an extra 227 hours per year. So, Burger King naturally decided that this is the next demographic to target.
The hamburger chain recently introduced the “Traffic Jam Whopper,” a delivery platform that brings Burger King food to people stuck in traffic, reports AdAge. Basically, peckish people sitting in their cars while Mexico City traffic crawls along can use the Burger King app to order food and have it delivered right to their car via a courier.
The platform, according to AdAge:
...uses real-time traffic data to determined heavily congested areas, and Waze banner ads and digital billboards then alert drivers when the delivery service is available to them.
The ads remind the drivers how much time they have left to order through the Burger King app–the delivery range changes depending on where the traffic is, and it’s always within a three-kilometer radius of a BK restaurant.
The billboards update to let drivers know when their food is approaching, and a Burger King courier then drops off their meals, aided by Google Maps tech that tracks their location and speed.
AdAge says that Burger King has plans to expand this program to Los Angeles, Shanghai and Sao Paulo.
There are a number of issues I have with this. First, I understand that with apps and smartphones, we basically have given our location at all times over to the big tech companies. But do we really have to add Burger King to that list? Now Burger King is going to know where I am and what route I take to get home?
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Secondly, though there’s no word yet if Burger King’s program will expand to other U.S. cities, one would think that it’d have to be a place where lane-splitting is legal. This style of food delivery would be simply impossible to achieve in a car.
And thirdly, I can’t see this helping with health and obesity concerns whatsoever. Someone who drives past a Burger King every day might not stop in, but if the food comes to them so easily, then it’s much harder to curb the temptation.
As it stands right now, Mexico is the world leader in overweight obesity and it’s a serious health concern here in the U.S., too. Fast food has been linked to increased “risk of obesity, depression, digestive issues, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and early death,” according to the Chicago Tribune. As an occasional treat? Sure, fast food is great and delicious. But its newfound accessibility will no doubt drive up the amount that it’s consumed.
And unless those couriers are using electric motorcycles or bikes, they are further contributing to greenhouse gas pollution in addition to what’s being emitted by the cars stuck in traffic. That can’t be a great place to spend hours of your day, huffing in exhaust fumes.
We can all agree that traffic is terrible. The solution to that should be alleviating it and improving our infrastructure, not feeding people fast food they don’t need.