A Burger King Whopper

Dear Burger King…

Boy, do I have a “Whopper” of a tale for you. Your store at 5265 US HWY 1 in Vero Beach, Florida, store #27009, just gave an absolute masterclass on how to provide an unforgettably horrible customer experience.

Granted, every time I have been to this particular Burger King (I would say about four or five times), the service has been poor (indifferent staff, missing items in order, botched mobile orders). However, I was close by and I thought I would give this location one more shot.

Before I headed to the restaurant, I opened up the Burger King mobile app to take a look at the menu. I knew better than to try to use the mobile app so I just wanted to see what was on the menu (aside: the first time I tried to place a mobile pickup order at this Burger King through the app they had not even started my order when I arrived at my designated pick up time some 30 minutes later; comically, they asked me to come inside the restaurant and wait – what’s the purpose of curbside pickup?).

Double Sourdough King was on the app’s homepage as a favorite. That sounded good, and I headed to the restaurant to order.

I drive up in the drive-thru. One of the two lanes is roped off and closed. Several signs are printed in black and white on copy paper saying how some menu items may not be available at this time due to distribution shortage. Not a great look all around, but okay that’s fine.

The host asks for my order. “Yes, I would like to get four Double Sourdough Kings (I’m ordering for myself and my three sons in their twenties), and four large fr…”

“We don’t have that anymore.”

I pause. “Oh, okay, then I would like four Double Whoppers, cheese, mustard, and ketchup only, and four large fries.” Order #501, per my receipt.

Now the pause is on the other end. “$41.23. Second window.”

I drive up to the second window. Only one car in front of me and no cars behind me when I pull up. The place is not crowded.


I hand over my credit card to my “host” and at 2:25 p.m. (as printed on the receipt, also attached below) I get my card back and the receipt. No more is communicated.

After two or three minutes, I start getting bored (and I notice at least two cars behind me now). I look past the delivery window and into the kitchen. I see someone who appears to be a manager or a shift leader; this person has a different colored shirt and is giving direction to others. The manager has a mask ‘on,’ but it is pulled down below their chin, hiding not their face, but rather their neck. I see the manager come and go a few times, and the mask is never properly worn.

Now it is 2:30 p.m. Five minutes waiting for fast food feels like a lifetime ?. No one has communicated anything to me whatsoever. I’m surprised I haven’t gotten a “could you pull up please,” or “I am sorry for the delay,” or “it should be just a few more minutes.” I sense the steam rising from the cars behind me.

It is now 2:35. I’ve been waiting for 10 minutes for some burgers and fries. Four double-burgers and fries is a lot of food, but let’s be honest, this isn’t a complicated order. Cheese mustard and ketchup on all four please, thank you.

Still, no one has said a word to me.

At 2:37 I did something I have never done in my 51 years, and something for which my wife is going to kill me for when she gets back in town tomorrow. I gave a “to hell with this place” gesture out of my car window (hoping the other cars saw me, to be honest). And just left. Left.

Forty-plus bucks down the drain.

Guess what I did next? I drove across the street to McDonald’s.

There were probably about 10 cars in the drive-thru queue. I ordered four Double Quarter Pounders (cheese, mustard, and ketchup only please!), and four large fries. Pretty much the equivalent of my abandoned Burger King order. Sure, the person that took my order sounded like they would rather be anywhere else in the world, but at least I got a surly, “first window, thank you.”

After paying at the first window (contactless, by the way, using a card reader), I pulled up to the delivery window. One minute passes by. “Oh boy, here we go…” I start thinking. But right then, a (masked) young man presents two bags. “Here you are, sir. Thank you.” I thanked him and wished him a great rest of the weekend. He nods, and thanks me again, and though he is masked, the creasing around his eyes tells me he is smiling.

The whole process from order-to-exit took roughly four minutes, and less than two minutes waiting for my order (and keep in mind that there were a lot more people at McDonald’s than there were at Burger King at this time).

I get home. Two bags. Burgers in one, fries in the other. Perfect. Cheese, mustard, and ketchup only.

One of my sons asks, “I thought you said you were getting Burger King?” I said, “Yeah, it’s complicated.” He laughs and says, “That’s what you said last time.”


I imagine that working in a fast-food restaurant has to be soul-crushing. The customers are horrible, the working conditions suck, and the pay is garbage. That’s why I have never, ever, ‘made a scene’ as a customer, and I’ll almost always let incorrect orders slide (much to my wife’s chagrin), chalking it up to, “well they were probably super-busy.”

I also know that 90% of success is just showing up; having manners, saying please and thank you, smiling, being at least somewhat pleasant, being punctual. Those are not skills that require highly specialized training. And those skills will get you very far in life – whether you are taking orders at a fast-food restaurant or trying to land a million-dollar client for your own business.

So to the franchisee at the Burger King at 5265 US HWY 1 in Vero Beach, Florida, store #27009 – please, keep my $40. Use it to help motivate your staff to be the best that they can be. At the end of the day, it feels good to have done a good job at something, whatever that something may be.

And most important, know that a culture of excellence in customer service comes from the top – not from the bottom.

Best of luck –

Burger King Customer

Epilogue I

OK, so now I’m just piling on.

After completing this document, I went to the My BK Experience website (at https://www.mybkexperience.com/) as was suggested on the back of my receipt (Let Us Know What You Think!) to enter my notes from above. I tried to grind through the site’s horrid, welcome-back-to-1998 ASPX web application (ASP is no longer supported by Microsoft, and the last major ASP release was in 2000, you can’t make this stuff up). I immediately wonder if this site is mobile-responsive.

Finally, I get to the page I’m looking for. Please tell us in three or more sentences why you were not Satisfied with your BURGER KING® Experience.

Yessir! I paste in my text.

The ASPX app thinks and whirrs for a little bit, and then reports back that my 1,000 words of feedback are way too much for the app’s 1200 character limit (must be those late-90s memory constraints). Ironically (?), the Comment Detail meter tells me I’m doing great, and based on my (too-much) feedback, I should provide more feedback on staff friendliness, and the accuracy and quality of the order (that I never received).

Epilogue II

I abandon the whole My BK Experience gong show and hunt around for another place to share my experience. I come across this link – https://bksupport.sutherlandconnect.com/ – where purportedly you can provide feedback on an experience at a specific Burger King restaurant.

This looks like the place I need to be. As I start choosing Country, State, and then City, I get a drop-down that shows the three Burger Kings in Vero Beach, Fl. Mine of course is 5265 US HWY 1 in Vero Beach, Florida, store #27009. There is also a handy “Choose File” utility so that I can upload my document. Perfect.

I fill out name, date, and time of visit. Some brief comments about my experience and the attached document. Check the requisite privacy and TOS agreement box. Then the green SUBMIT button. And……

Let’s just say, you can’t make this stuff up.

Server Error in ‘/’ Application.


Invalid File Upload

Parameter name: FileUpload

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.ArgumentException: Invalid File Upload
Parameter name: FileUpload

Source Error:
An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

Stack Trace:

[ArgumentException: Invalid File Upload
Parameter name: FileUpload] RBIWebFormMVC.Controllers.<PostWebAPI>d__15.MoveNext() in \\bbyairdev02\ezCLM\CRM 3.0\RBI\Source Code\RBIWebform\LivePointing\RBIWebFormMVC_BK\RBIWebFormMVC\Controllers\RBIController.cs:166
System.Runtime.CompilerServices.TaskAwaiter.ThrowForNonSuccess(Task task) +102
System.Runtime.CompilerServices.TaskAwaiter.HandleNonSuccessAndDebuggerNotification(Task task) +64
System.Web.Mvc.Async.TaskAsyncActionDescriptor.EndExecute(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +97
System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass8_0.<BeginInvokeAsynchronousActionMethod>b__1(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +17
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResult`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncControllerActionInvoker.EndInvokeActionMethod(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +32
System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncInvocationWithFilters.<InvokeActionMethodFilterAsynchronouslyRecursive>b__11_0() +50
System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass11_1.<InvokeActionMethodFilterAsynchronouslyRecursive>b__2() +228
System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass7_0.<BeginInvokeActionMethodWithFilters>b__1(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResult`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncControllerActionInvoker.EndInvokeActionMethodWithFilters(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +34
System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass3_6.<BeginInvokeAction>b__3() +35
System.Web.Mvc.Async.<>c__DisplayClass3_1.<BeginInvokeAction>b__5(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +100
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResult`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
System.Web.Mvc.Async.AsyncControllerActionInvoker.EndInvokeAction(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +27
System.Web.Mvc.<>c.<BeginExecuteCore>b__152_1(IAsyncResult asyncResult, ExecuteCoreState innerState) +11
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +29
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
System.Web.Mvc.Controller.EndExecuteCore(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +45
System.Web.Mvc.<>c.<BeginExecute>b__151_2(IAsyncResult asyncResult, Controller controller) +13
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +22
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
System.Web.Mvc.Controller.EndExecute(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +26
System.Web.Mvc.Controller.System.Web.Mvc.Async.IAsyncController.EndExecute(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +10
System.Web.Mvc.<>c.<BeginProcessRequest>b__20_1(IAsyncResult asyncResult, ProcessRequestState innerState) +28
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncVoid`1.CallEndDelegate(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +29
System.Web.Mvc.Async.WrappedAsyncResultBase`1.End() +49
System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult asyncResult) +28
System.Web.Mvc.MvcHandler.System.Web.IHttpAsyncHandler.EndProcessRequest(IAsyncResult result) +9
System.Web.CallHandlerExecutionStep.System.Web.HttpApplication.IExecutionStep.Execute() +9850009
System.Web.HttpApplication.ExecuteStepImpl(IExecutionStep step) +50
System.Web.HttpApplication.ExecuteStep(IExecutionStep step, Boolean& completedSynchronously) +163

Version Information: Microsoft .NET Framework Version:4.0.30319; ASP.NET Version:4.8.4330.0