In March, Burger King debuted the BK Veggie, a vegan burger served on a nearly-vegan bun (there are trace amounts of dairy). Burger King promised that the burger would be microwaved by request for those that didn’t want their burger grilled with the meat burgers and that the low-fat mayonnaise could be left off. It was the first move by a national fast food chain (other than Subway) to offer a healthier, vegetarian product for their customers.
A day or two after the burger debuted, I stopped by a Burger King for the first time in years to show my support and do my duty as a prolific (hah!) vegetarian web site host. I had read on Vegan.com that some people had trouble getting their burgers microwaved, being downright refused by some Burger King employees, so I crossed my fingers when I placed my order. “A BK veggie with no mayo, and could you microwave that instead of grilling it?” There was a look of confusion on the employee’s face as we struggled back-and-forth to communicate. I was served my burger and was pleased to see that there was no mayo. The burger itself was good, but I noticed that it had grillmarks on it. I figured that the burgers shipped that way, with faux-grill marks to make it look more authentic. I was wrong: Erik Marcus told me that his BK Veggie burgers had no grill marks. Apparently, I received a burger that was grilled and then microwaved. Plus, I found out a month later that the Burger King fries, which used to be vegetarian-safe, now contain chicken flavoring.
Not exactly a successful first outing.
Last weekend, though, I gave it another shot. My wife and I were on the road past 11pm and were looking for some food. Burger King was the only place open at any of the rest stops, so I decided to give the BK Veggie another shot, figuring that a few months after the product launched, employees would be well-versed in its preparation. This time around, they microwaved it (no grill marks!), as I requested, but they fumbled by putting mayo on, despite my request otherwise. I took my burger back up to the counter and they redid it for me but, unfortunately, simply threw away the other burger. To top it off, the employee had no idea how long to microwave the burger. The discussion I heard in the back went like this: “He wants it microwaved instead of on the grill.” “Microwaved? How long do you microwave one of these things?” “5 minutes, I guess.” “5 minutes!? Are you kidding me?” I hoped that they’d figure it out—apparently one minute will do the job—but they didn’t: the burger was an overheated hockey puck.
While I haven’t exactly had a lot of success with my own ordering of the BK Veggie, I still support the idea of a veggie burger at fast food restaurants and I like the fact that Burger King continues to prominently advertise their BK Veggie alongside their other burgers. McDonald’s now offers a vegan burger on a whole wheat bun in Canada, and hopefully they will follow Burger King’s lead in making a vegetarian option available to their American customers as well.
I eat fast food extremely rarely, but I think that tasty vegetarian options at national fast food spots can do only good in advancing the cause of healthier eating and vegetarianism. Lord knows we’d have a healthier country if everyone ordered a BK Veggie instead of a Double Whopper with Cheese.
My First BK Veggie
Vegan.com’s Erik Marcus discusses the surreal experience of his first meal at a fast food restaurant in 15 years, and more specifically, his thoughts on the BK Veggie burger.
Vegetarians Have It Our Way at Burger King
PETA’s promotion of the BK Veggie.