(CTN News) – Burger King‘s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit alleging deceptive representation of its Whopper burgers on menus has been rejected by a judge, allowing the case to proceed.
The class-action lawsuit, initiated in March 2022, contends that Burger King misled customers with its portrayal of menu items, citing social media feedback and a 2020 Insider article.
According to the lawsuit, Burger King marketed its burgers as larger and more generously portioned than competitors’, asserting that the patties and ingredients extended beyond the bun’s boundaries.
The amended lawsuit from May 2022 claims that while Burger King’s advertisements depicted Whoppers as substantially larger with significantly more meat content, the actual burgers received by customers did not reflect this increase in size or content.
The lawsuit further alleges that Burger King engaged in a practice of materially exaggerating the size of nearly all its menu items in current advertisements.
The plaintiffs’ concerns are amplified by economic factors like high inflation and food prices, particularly affecting lower-income consumers.
Legal Proceedings and Judge’s Decision Surrounding Burger King’s Menu Representation
Burger King, in a motion to dismiss in May 2022, defended itself by stating that variations in appearance arise from the handmade nature of its sandwiches, and that menu images accurately represent the ingredients.
The company argued that reasonable customers shouldn’t expect the burgers to match the ads exactly, pointing to portion size information on its website.
US District Judge Roy Altman, in an August 23, 2023 order, granted certain aspects of Burger King’s request for dismissal, specifically related to online and TV ads, as well as claims regarding state consumer-protection laws.
However, the judge allowed the lawsuit to proceed on grounds of breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.
Judge Altman emphasized that the determination of whether the alleged disparity between what was presented and what was delivered impacted consumers’ purchasing decisions should be left to the consumers themselves, potentially to be decided by a jury.
Burger King responded to the judge’s decision, maintaining that the claims put forth by the plaintiffs were false and reaffirming the uniformity of their beef patties in advertising and service.
The plaintiffs’ legal representative, James C. Kelly, who has initiated similar class-action cases against Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and McDonald’s, continues to advocate for consumer rights in these matters.