There’s nothing mysterious about the world’s two most famous burgers. But in honour of National Cheeseburger Day, we’re taking a closer look at what sets Burger King’s Whopper and McDonald’s Big Mac apart.
Burger King’s Whopper, invented in 1957, is a quarter-pound flame-broiled burger plus fixings.
McDonald’s Big Mac, invented in 1967, is two 1.1-ounce patties separated by a third bun, plus cheese, fixings, and a special sauce that tastes like mayonnaise plus ketchup. The Big Mac also uses dehydrated onions instead of fresh.
If McDonald’s patrons want that extra meat, they can order a Quarter Pounder, which is basically a Whopper made on a standard grill.
The Big Mac has 550 calories and 29 grams of fat while the Whopper has 630 calories and 35 grams of fat.
Since there’s no such thing as a blind taste tests between the two signature burgers, it’s hard to say which the people like most. In 2008, Burger King set out to find “Whopper Virgins” in remote locations to compare the two burgers. Burger King claimed victory in this taste test but mainly just generated a ton of controversy for being “insulting and exploitative.”
As with Coke and Pepsi, preference between Big Mac and Whopper depends most on branding and exposure.
This is where the Big Mac has an advantage, and Burger King knows it.
‘”You’re capitalising on the tastes that have developed in the American palate … [and] God knows how many Big Macs have sold,” said Barry Schwartz, Burger King’s former director of brand research, on the mid-nineties launch of a copy cat burger called the Big King (it was discontinued in most regions).
McDonald’s has 34,000 locations worldwide compared to 12,000 for Burger King.
Earlier this year McDonald’s was ranked the fourth most valuable brand in the world by Millward Brown, while Burger King didn’t make the top 100.
Alaina McConnell contributed to this story.
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