- Burger King boosted downloads of its mobile app by 1.5 million with its "Whopper Detour" stunt campaign that offered 1-cent Whoppers to smartphone users who were near rival McDonald's locations. José Cil, CEO of Burger King's parent company Restaurant Brands International (RBI), revealed the results as part of a quarterly earnings call with analysts on Feb. 11.
- Customers had to download the upgraded Burger King app and get within 600 feet of a McDonald's restaurant to activate the offer. After customers placed an order, the app navigated them away from McDonald's and toward the nearest Burger King to pick up their food within an hour.
- The campaign made the Burger King app the most downloaded app in Apple's App Store for several days in a row and the most downloaded QSR app in the U.S. among direct competitors in December, Cil said. RBI also owns Popeyes and Tim Hortons.
Burger King’s "Whopper Detour" campaign that ran from Dec. 4 to Dec. 12 was a big hit amid the burger chain's push to promote new order-ahead features of its redesigned mobile app. The effort demonstrated the power of mobile "conquesting" that provides incentives for customers to leave a rival’s location and relies on a smartphone’s navigation features to take steps to redeem an offer. Following the success of the "Whopper Detour," Burger King again trolled McDonald's by unveiling a new line of menu items in Sweden after McDonald's lost its Big Mac trademark in the EU.
Burger King is among the QSR chains that have worked to appeal to younger consumers who have tended to avoid fast food in favor of fast casual restaurants that are perceived to have healthier menus. Successfully reaching millennials and Generation Z can mean providing greater convenience, such as mobile ordering, payment and delivery.
Burger King continues to find new ways to leverage mobile and this month returned to advertising during the Super Bowl after a 12-year absence to promote a "Mystery Box" offer with food-delivery app DoorDash. The burger chain also worked with DoorDash on the introduction of the Dogpper," a bone-shaped dog treat with flame-grilled beef flavor, and a tie-in with Activision for the launch of hit videogame "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4."
Burger King’s U.S. comparable sales rose 0.8% last year, and the chain made up about 70% of RBI’s restaurant locations, per The Wall Street Journal. Burger King’s net restaurant count rose by more than 6%, or more than 1,000 locations worldwide last year. RBI’s revenue rose 12% to $1.39 billion to surpass the average analyst estimate of $1.37 billion.