I compared Burger King's cheapest burger with its most expensive, and found they both offer a poor value

Irene Jiang / Business InsiderI compared Burger King’s most expensive menu item, the BBQ Bacon Triple Whopper, and its cheapest menu item, the classic hamburger.
  • As the gap widens between wealthy and working-class Americans, people come to fast-food chains like Burger King to provide quality and value.
  • To find out how much quality and value the Burger King menu can provide, I compared the most expensive burger with the least expensive one.
  • Although one was much larger than the other, they were largely identical in terms of quality and value: mediocre.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The gap between America’s wealthy and America’s working-class only continues to grow.

The death of America’s middle class has led fast-food chains to change their strategies to appeal to customers at both ends of the economic spectrum.

And it seems to be working. Burger King recently added an Impossible Whopper to its menu, drawing in younger, more affluent customers and boosting sales.


Read more:
These chains offer the best value in fast food, according to customers

So in terms of food quality, how low – or high – does Burger King go? To find out, I decided to compare the chain’s most expensive menu item, the BBQ Bacon Triple Whopper, and its cheapest menu item, the classic hamburger.


At my local Burger King in Manhattan in New York City, the cheapest menu item is the hamburger, which costs $US1.89. The most expensive item is the BBQ Bacon Triple Whopper, at $US11.19.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The burgers look like the before-and-after photo of a weightlifter in training. The BBQ Bacon Triple Whopper weighs in at 1270 calories, while the hamburger packs a measly 240 calories.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Unlike McDonald’s, which uses fresh beef for its quarter pounders and frozen beef for its smaller burgers, Burger King uses the same beef for all its burgers. Both burgers also have sesame buns.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

According to Burger King’s website, its hamburger consists of a flame-grilled beef patty, crinkle-cut pickles, mustard and ketchup, and a toasted sesame seed bun.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

I think the Burger King employees who made this sandwich forgot the mustard. Ketchup did most of the heavy lifting.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The toasted sesame seed bun made this lightweight look slightly more appealing.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Burger King’s most distinctive flavour comes through in this hamburger: flame-grilled beef. The burger tastes like char, ketchup, and a hint of crunchy pickle.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Burger King never fails to mess up my order, which is why I was annoyed but not surprised by the lack of mustard on this burger. There was also just way too much ketchup.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Surprisingly, the most important components of this burger — the meat and the bun — did their job well enough. However, I’ve found Burger King’s quality to be wildly inconsistent.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The BBQ Bacon Triple Whopper should contain three quarter-pound patties, smoked bacon, American cheese, lettuce, mayo, tomatoes, ketchup onions, pickles, and BBQ sauce on a toasted sesame seed bun.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Mine had been made without cheese for some reason. There was definitely cheese in the product photo when I ordered, so I’m not sure why it was left out. But it’s pointless to seek reason in chaos.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider


Read more:
I tried the signature burgers from 5 major fast-food chains, and the winner was obvious


Was there ketchup and mustard hidden somewhere in this leafy, beefy mess? Maybe it’d been absorbed into the insidious BBQ sauce that covered every inch of the meat and more.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

This burger was so heavy and unwieldy that I struggled to lift it with one hand.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

It was also hard to take a bite of it, but once I managed to (and got BBQ sauce all over my face) it was clear that this burger was mostly just a lot of beef. And it was the same beef that was in the regular hamburger.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Same bun, same beef, same pickles. The BBQ sauce and veggies were some of the only things that set this burger apart. That, and its sheer abundance of meat.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

This burger looks, tastes, and feels completely unnecessary. It contains enough protein and calories to provide two full meals for the average American woman.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

This burger’s ingredients aren’t significantly different or of a higher quality than the hamburger’s ingredients. They’re just more of the same. Much more.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

So is it worth it to pay the premium for the most expensive burger on Burger King’s menu? I can’t see why it would be.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Plus, if you’re going to pay that much for a burger, you might as well buy a burger at a local restaurant, or at a slightly more expensive fast-food chain like Five Guys, Shake Shack, or Smashburger.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

The BBQ Bacon Triple Whopper is essentially six times the cost and six times the size of the hamburger. It provides the illusion of quality and value without providing either of those things. The chain’s true upsell is the Impossible Whopper, whose novelty entices customers to pay a dollar more than they would for a beef Whopper.

Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Do you eat fast food? Do you have tried-and-true techniques for getting a better-tasting meal for less money? We’d love to hear your menu hacks. Please email me at [email protected]

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