Monday 18 January 2016

An Open Letter To GBK

To The Gourmet Burger Kitchen,

I felt the need to write to you to offer my congratulations on your latest advertising campaign which was clearly designed to cause maximum controversy. This campaign has undoubtedly gained your brand countless new enemies, and quite rightly so.

Maybe the bullish ignorance of your aggressive advertising, which can be likened to a campaign dreamt up by a team of interns on the The Apprentice, was an uneducated blunder or perhaps it was an intentional cheap shot at Vegetarians? Either way the resulting advertising is the same; not cool.

The responsibility of a multi million pound company such as GBK to educate consumers is not something to be taken lightly and I am quite simply startled that the marketing team who came up with this idiocy was actually approved by senior directors. It's one thing creating brand wars against competitors, as we have previously seen between Burger King and McDonalds, but it's a completely different thing to actually attack consumers based on their beliefs. This becomes even more nonsensical when you take into account that some vegetarians and vegans actually eat at your restaurants and probably do so in a group or family where other members choose to eat meat. Just imagine for one second how uncomfortable any vegetarian would feel if they walked into your restaurant to find posters actively mocking them!

The point remains clear, if the decision was to intentionally offend hundreds of thousands of people and the advertising reflects the true position of the GBK brand towards vegetarians, then you are probably the first restaurant chain to take such a drastic move. What is more shocking is that you have decided to do this at a time when more and more people are choosing to lead a plant based diet and thinking more carefully about where to spend their hard earned money. Perhaps if your marketing team had done their research they would know this and they would also be aware that January is known to many as 'Veganuary', a month where thousands of people sign up to go vegan in order to reduce suffering to animals, improve their health and lower their carbon footprint.

One chain of restaurants who did do their research are Hand Made Burger Co. who made the intelligent decision to team up with Veganuary and offer 50% off their vegan options during the month of January. A great example of how to embrace and capitalise on changing consumer demands in the 21st century.

In this modern age discrimination of any kind is not acceptable and a company as large as GBK should certainly not be promoting and encouraging it. Vegetarians and vegans are normal people who recognise that change is happening and is essential for a multitude of reasons including health, sustainability and compassion for the animals who sadly don't get a say in any of this.

Perhaps if you had invested the same time and money spent on this backwards thinking campaign into a new vegetarian & vegan menu then you wouldn't have just alienated your next generation of customers (and their families and friends too).

Kind regards,


  1. I couldn't agree more. At a time where even fast food chains are embracing vegetarian and veganism, GBK have taken a very backwards step.
    I know myself, friends and family will no longer be eating here. We will be taking our business to places that don't isolate and downright bully any of us for any reason and certainly not for our moral beliefs.
    Shame on you GBK.

    Tea in the Tub

  2. This is wonderfully written. Well said!!!

  3. Brilliant post, wonderfully said and rightly so too. It's always saddening to see advertisement campaigns like this. - Tasha

  4. Yes girl yes! You're so right, I wasn't aware of this advertisement but they most definitely need to sort their morals and marketing team out ..X

  5. Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for saying that and so eloquently. :)

  6. I'm sorry, could you please elaborate on "The responsibility of a multi million pound company such as GBK to educate consumers?"
    I don't understand where this responsibility is defined, and how it relates to having an ad campaign that pokes fun at people who aren't a company's main target audience.
    If they were deliberately misleading people ("A GBK burger is healthier than a salad") then yes, I see what responsibility you mean. But this ad campaign has nothing to do with educating people.

    The campaign is a joke. It's not a joke you may find very funny, but it's not something anyone sensible would ever take seriously.

  7. Right up there with Brewdog advertising their so called 'punk beer' by mocking the homeless and transgender people, then justifying it with the standard privileged white boy's defence that 'it's just a bit of banter!'

  8. Well written and succinct. Good work!
    Adam, Intelligent Eating.

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  10. Are we online-signing anything anywhere? Because I'm ready! Well done Sarah.

  11. Couldn't agree more. I have an email complaint in the works, but this post just said everything perfectly. And to this comment above: "The campaign is a joke. It's not a joke you may find very funny, but it's not something anyone sensible would ever take seriously." - Poking fun at your customers, no matter how small that number, is not funny. It'd be taken seriously if it were the other way round.

  12. they make me sick every morning that I have to take the tube, well done Sarah!

  13. This is so disgusting. Your letter was wonderful, direct without being rude. Good for you!

  14. This is so disgusting. Your letter was wonderful, direct without being rude. Good for you!


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