Burger King Named in False Advertising Lawsuit Over Whopper Size

  • A new class-action lawsuit is claiming Burger King’s advertising is misleading about portion sizes.
  • Plaintiffs are seeking damages and an end to the ads.
  • Fast food chains typically settle claims like these to avoid bad press. 

A new lawsuit is claiming Burger King is misleading customers about its menu items, including the signature Whopper, in a new lawsuit. 

The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, says that the burger chain misrepresents burgers in advertisements as larger than they actually are. The Whopper specifically is advertised as 35% larger than the actual product, the suits says, citing food reviewers on social media.

“Although the size of the Whopper increased materially in Burger King’s advertisements, the recipe or the amount of beef or ingredients contained in Burger King’s Whopper has never changed,” the lawsuit says. 

The plaintiffs are seeking damages and an order for Burger King to stop the advertising they say is misleading, with hopes to represent any customers who bought an “overstated” menu item at the chain since September 2017.

“Burger King’s actions are especially concerning now that inflation, food and meat prices are very high and many consumers, especially lower-income consumers, are struggling financially,” the lawsuit says.

A spokesperson for Burger King declined to comment, saying the chain does not comment on “pending or potential litigations.”

Lawsuits accusing fast-food chains of false advertising are fairly common. Regardless of the strength of the case, companies often settle quickly to avoid bad publicity, Jonathan Maze of Restaurant Business Magazine told NBC News.

In 2020, Burger King was ordered to pull ads for its plant-based Rebel Burger in the UK. The Advertising Standards Board found that the ads were misleading, suggesting that the burger was vegan and vegetarian despite containing mayonnaise and being cooked along with meat products.

That same year, Chipotle paid out a settlement of $6.5 million to customers who said they were misled by the chain’s non-GMO pledge when they were served meat from animals that had been fed genetically modified food.

In 2017, a US appeals court dismissed a class action settlement stemming from a lawsuit claiming Subway was selling “footlong” subs that were actually smaller than 12 inches. Subway had previously agreed to settle by saying it would adopt quality control measures and award $5,000 to each of the 10 plaintiffs, but Judge Diane Sykes called the settlement “worthless,” in her decision to toss the settlement.

False advertising lawsuits in the food industry as a whole are up in recent years, according to an analysis by lawyer Pooja S. Nair in Food Dive. There were a record number of these cases filed in 2020. Many of these lawsuits center on claims about health, sustainability, and “all-natural” food and drinks.

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