When Burger King announced in January that some of its locations in Maryland and Virginia — including the Kingstowne location — would provide delivery service, I was curious.
Could the minor convenience gained by not waiting in the drive-through line outweigh any damage to the food during transit and the look of disappointment in you on the delivery man's face? Isn't the drive-through already the final in food laziness technology?
After some delays, Kingstowne's Burger King started delivering last week. I recently ordered a Whopper and French fries to test out the service. I decided to order around noon on a Monday, planning to test the service at a peak time.
When I moved to Kingstowne, I ate Burger King at least once a week, typically more. While I've cut back since then, I'm not opposed at heart to fast food, and especially not Burger King, so my reactions here don't have to do with the general quality of a burger you'd get if you just went to the restaurant in person.
Ordering Experience: In recent years, online orderers have been spoiled by the sublime genius of the Domino's Pizza Tracker. This is not that. A trip to BKdelivers.com is straightforward, showing your options for burgers. If you want cheese on your burger and ketchup for your fries, make sure to hunt those down, because I couldn't.
Wait Time: When Burger King announced delivery, the company promised that food would be delivered 30 minutes after the order is made. Now their website says it will take 40 to 45 minutes to arrive. When I ordered, it took 50 minutes.
Drinks: You can only order bottled drinks from Burger King. No fountain sodas here, which seems awfully pointless — if I want to drink bottled Coke, I'll just go to 7-Eleven. To make matters worse, the soda was only slightly chilled when it arrived.
The Hand-Off: While other delivery chains like to brag about their advanced heat-trapping packaging, the Burger King man seemed to be toting coolers you could pick up at Walmart.
While getting your BK delivered adds $2 to the order, Burger King makes clear that you know that doesn't cover the tip.
The delivery man arrived at my door had other receipts in his hand, which suggests BK delivery is already taking off.
Packaging: The fries came in this strange box that leaves you yearning for an old-fashioned fry sleeves. But the fries aren't the real villain.
The burger comes in a sleek black canister, which seems simple enough to open. But not so! The cold ingredients of the burger (lettuce, tomato, onions) and separated by a thin plastic divider from the patty. In order to combine them, you have to pull a tab on the side of the package.
Naturally, there's no warning about the tab, and my burger ended up looking like a mess as I struggled to pull open the box (pictured).
Heat: This is my biggest complaint with Burger King delivery. The fries and burger were at best lukewarm, which draws your attention to the actual ingredients — which, let's face it, aren't what you want to be focusing on. If you'd like to imagine the level of heat you lose in delivery, imagine buying a meal at the Kingstowne Burger King, then driving to Arlington.
While Burger King delivery isn't a total fiasco, the heat loss and long wait time make it an unattractive option. If you want to get Burger King without getting out of your pajamas, that's what the drive-through's for.
Updated with information about delivery fees/tip.