Burger King UK is under fire after somebody from its marketing department thought it would be a genius idea to unveil its “women belong in the kitchen” campaign on International Women’s Day.
The controversy began with a full-page newspaper ad the company took out on Monday, which reads, “Women belong in the kitchen.” Burger King then followed it up with a tweet from its official Twitter account.
The tweet raised eyebrows — and began to question BK’s seemingly insensitive slogan.
“If they want to, of course,” read a follow-up from Burger King UK. “Yet only 20% of chefs are women. We’re on a mission to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry by empowering female employees with the opportunity to pursue a culinary career.”
They then unveiled its now new scholarship program for female employees to “pursue their culinary dreams!” The Burger King Foundation’s H.E.R. (Helping Equalize Restaurants) Scholarship will grant $25,000 apiece to two current female employees.
It’s clear that the restaurant chain was an attempt to flip an age-old sexist trope — but the plan backfired… and BK could potentially face an imminent boycott if it does not clear this mess up expeditiously.
“Fine dining kitchens, food truck kitchens, award-winning kitchens, casual dining kitchens, ghost kitchens, Burger King kitchens. If there’s a professional kitchen, women belong there,” the ad continued. “But can you guess who’s leading those kitchens these days? Exactly. Only 24% of chef positions in America are occupied by women. Want to talk head chefs? The number drops to fewer than 7%.”
A Burger King spokesperson released a statement to TODAY Food admitting that the company had made a “mistake.”
“We are committed to helping women break through a male-dominated culinary culture in the world’s fine dining restaurants — and sometimes that requires drawing attention to the problem we’re trying to help fix,” said a Burger King spokesperson. “Our tweet in the U.K. today was designed to draw attention to the fact that only a small percentage of chefs and head chefs are women. It was our mistake to not include the full explanation in our initial tweet and have adjusted our activity moving forward because we’re sure that when people read the entirety of our commitment, they will share our belief in this important opportunity”.
While BK’s intent appears to be good (encouraging equity and fairness is rarely, if ever… a bad thing,) its execution left much to be desired.
Looks as though it’s back to the drawing board…
Is BK’s apology enough?