Hold on to your Happy Meals: Burger King turned to the New York Times and The Chicago Tribune to negotiate a truce with McDonald’s, flying in the face of generally accepted social norms. The temporary alliance is ostensibly to celebrate Peace One Day, and would manifest in a pop-up restaurant dedicated to serving up the “McWhopper,” which would combine ingredients from both franchises’ signature burgers (and likely several unstable elements perched on the lower-right corner of the periodic table).
Reflecting the equality of such an alignment, Burger King is proposing that the venture be situated in Atlanta, halfway between the companies’ respective corporate headquarters. Likewise, the pop-up restaurant would be staffed equally with McDonald’s and Burger King employees. Burger King also referenced special uniforms, but did not specify if such attire consisted of simply mixing and matching or the commissioning of a Harvey Dent-style ensemble for the occasion.
Perhaps sensing a natural skepticism on the part of its long-time nemesis, Burger King addressed the 800-pound, all-beef-patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese in the room, saying, “Our invitation might be unexpected, but it’s 100 percent sincere. Burger King genuinely wants to unite with McDonald’s on Sept. 21, 2015, to prepare and serve the McWhopper and get the world talking about Peace Day.” In addition to the advertisement, Burger King also launched a Tumblr page as a demonstration of its commitment to assemble for a single day of widespread harmony and mutually assured diabetes.
So far, McDonald’s has not commented on the proposal, but that’s hardly surprising, given the companies’ tempestuous relationship. Like the Romans and the Carthaginians and the Achaeans and Trojans before them, the empires of Burger King and McDonald’s have been defined by their shared enmity. Both global chains have been locked in an ongoing struggle, each jockeying over the right to harden our arteries, synthesize milkshakes that defy the laws of hydrodynamics, and perfume the inside of our cars with the lingering, hydrogenated aroma of soggy french fry containers.
Of course, this may all be a ploy on the part of BK to attempt a killing stroke against the golden arches. After all, McDonald’s declining sales have been well documented, and the promise of focus-grouped marketing synergy might be just appealing enough for the struggling giant to let its guard down. As Mickey Dees considers the offer, it would be well-advised to remember Virgil, who wrote in The Aeneid, “Beware Kings bearing flame-grilled quarter pounders.”
UPDATE: McDonald’s has none-too-politely refused its competitor’s offer. Sure, things start off politely enough, with a Facebook post from McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook saying, “We love the intention but think our two brands could do something bigger to make a difference.” But by the final line of “A simple phone call will do next time,” the company is straight-up throwing shade. Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed burn, please.