Burger King Charges 11 Cents For BBQ Sauce

Dear Consumerist,

So, for dinner tonight I decided to make the least healthiest choice and go to my local Burger King. There I placed an order for a Tender Crisp Chicken Sandwich Large Value Meal (and the barista only says Large or King, and not Medium, which is advertised, but thats something I’ll touch on another time). Upon paying almost 7 dollars and then a few minutes later receiving my food, I politely asked the barista working the counter for some barbecue sauce. The barista then told me that it would cost me 11 cents to get a little brownish-red stuff in a plastic square.

I was baffled. I asked if the barista was serious and he was. Then I asked to speak with his manager. She said, that it would cost 11 cents for me to have barbecue sauce because I had not ordered Chicken Fries or Chicken Tenders. So, I told them that I would not pay 11 cents for the barbecue sauce (because I would honestly keep the 11 cents and put it toward a real bottle of barbecue sauce) and instead wanted 20 packets of ketchup which they handed over without thinking twice.

What has happened to the days where vendors gave you condiments free of charge? I know gas prices have gone up and the U.S. economy has gone to shit but it’s a little ludicrous when Burger King stops handing out barbecue sauce for free.

Sincerely,

A College Kid Looking for Some BBQ Sauce

Dear A College Kid,

Burger King has to raise condiment prices due to risky bets placed on the sub-prime burger industry. Furthermore, BBQ sauce cubelets are a premium condiment compared to catsup. You would have to fill an entire standard-sized Burger King with catsup packets to equal one BBQ sauce cubelet. This is due to massive government subsidies for the tomato industry, grandfathered into the Food Bill, which are left over from the war of 1872 when America wanted to undermine Spanish influence in Mexico by shutting them out of the lucrative tomato market.

(Photo: Morton Fox)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. scoopy says:

    I love this. A BK Barista. Classic – burn both BK and Starby’s at the same time.

  2. BustedWheel says:

    Sice When did everyone that works behind a counter become a “Barista.”

  3. varco says:

    Best . . . complaint . . . evar!

    “So I ordered something extra and then (imagine this) they wanted me to pay for it!”

  4. HRHKingFriday says:

    @BustedWheel: Since places like McDs are trying to refashion themselves in Starbucks mold. Ok, maybe not BK, but McDs is a total whore for that stuff.

  5. num1skeptic says:

    wow. is this whole post a joke or is this serious?

  6. HalOfBorg says:

    I’m glad to be the first person to post this:

    [www.softlab.ntua.gr]

    And it’s even the right time of the year. :)

  7. budartagnan says:

    Why does Consumerist even post this crap? Slow news day? Seriously, can we keep it to real, interesting stories?

  8. youbastid says:

    They’ve been charging for ketchup packets at fast food places in Europe for a loooooooooooong time now.

    I like the idea of referring to everyone that works behind a service counter as a “barista” – like referring to all tissues as “Kleenex,” it shows the owner of the brand that there are downsides to relentless branding.

    In other news, I just paid $11 for a Tendercrisp combo at the airport – medium sized.

  9. KingPsyz says:

    I’m fairly certian that it’s against corporate policy to charge for these condiments, but franchises are pretty much left to their own devices to be cheapskates about it.

    I’m also fairly certain I can;t see any of the comments for this article.

  10. SOhp101 says:

    It depends what store you go into. Some charge extra while others don’t.

  11. Skiffer says:

    It’s been this way for a long time.

    You even got lucky that they didn’t charge for extra ketchup packets.

    Quit your bitching and move on with your life…

    Oh yeah, and “barista”?? douche…

  12. SadSam says:

    Why .11, why not .10 or .15, that they would go for a .11 up charge just seems spiteful.

  13. macgyver314 says:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Burger King charging for BBQ sauce. When I worked for BK back in 2003 those little BBQ cups cost BK 8.9 cents each. By comparison ketchup packets where just under 0.5 cents. BK never had any intention of offering free BBQ or Honey Mustard sauce. They carry them because they are part of the chicken tenders and chicken fries meal. If you don’t think BBQ sauce is worth 11 cents, then don’t buy any.

  14. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    I’m not sure if it’s BK or McD’s, but one of them charges one-fourth of a dollar for a 1e-14 oz container of tartar sauce.

    I understand that some condiments may be more expensive than others, but why not just keep the expensive ones behind the counter and only dispense them when asked? That way you keep the freeloaders from stocking their refrigerator with condiment packets, and you still keep the honest customers happy.

    @varco: “So I ordered something extra and then (imagine this) they wanted me to pay for it!”

    Have you ever gone to a non-fast-food restaurant and been charged for condiments? Hell no. So why does BK or McD’s need to charge you for condiments, when you’re paying twice as much for sub-par quality food, and NEED said condiments to make the food any good?

  15. Canadian Impostor says:

    @BustedWheel: Since when did some person who fills your coffee cup become a “barista” and not a “broke college kid”?

  16. homerjay says:

    Okay, now this place is getting silly.

  17. num1skeptic says:

    @HalOfBorg: funny! and the timing is perfect!

  18. macgyver314 says:

    They probably charge .11 because that’s what they cost for BK to buy them. They’re selling them at cost, not making a profit.

  19. num1skeptic says:

    and i thought i could have it my way!

  20. Namrok1 says:

    Let’s just take a minute and thank Consumerist for the impressive history lesson. In all honesty, I appreciate the info on tomato subsidies more than the cost of BBQ sauce “cubelets.” Also, for the record, the main ingredient of some BBQ sauces is the mighty tomato. Additionally, if you mistype BBQ, it quickly becomes BBW which is a whole different post altogether. Fleshbot anyone?

  21. warf0x0r says:

    I remember when McDees would have the 20 peice nugget on sale for like 4 bucks but wouldn’t give you more than 3 sweet-n-sours with it for free you had to pay 11c for more.

  22. unsunder says:

    So you’re telling me that stuff costs money!?!

    Seriously thats a bargain. I’ve heard people paying upwards of 27 cents for BBQ sauce at certain other burger place. I’m happy to pay it as I was once the person behind the counter that had to break the “stuff costs money” news to customers.

    Bringing condiments is restaurants seems like an awfully good idea.

  23. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @macgyver314: “those little BBQ cups cost BK 8.9 cents each”

    So how much does a seven dollar Double Whopper meal actually cost BK to make and serve? You don’t think the profit from the meal is enough to cover a little bit of BBQ sauce?

    Most gas stations profit between zero and four cents per gallon on gasoline. But I have yet to be charged a damn dime to be able to use the squeegee and napkins. Most even give out free paper funnels. Why? Because they make so much profit on what the sell inside the store, they can afford to provide me a squeegee.

    Likewise, fast food joints make a killing off of the food; they can afford to give me some damn BBQ sauce.

  24. shan6 says:

    Why yes I’ll gladly pay you money for those little tubes of salt. Thank you for ramming it in tightly!

  25. Trowble (XBL/PSN) says:

    No surprise. Wendy’s charges 35 cents for honey mustard.

  26. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Many McDonald’s in Chicago have signs stating that you get 1 sauce packet with a 6 piece nuggets, 2 with a 9 piece & 3 with a 20 piece & that extras are 10¢ each.

    But they will give you unlimited ketchup packets with fries.
    Once I asked why, got no answer, but did get more BBQ sauce.

  27. Amelie says:

    When I first noticed that they charged for condiments in Europe, I was a bit taken aback. But now I think it’s a good idea. The cost is nominal and most importantly, it prevents waste. While I couldn’t care less about profits at fast food chains, I do care about people taking more than they need and tossing it.

  28. num1skeptic says:

    this college kid probably has a kings ransom’s worth of fast food condiments in his dorm.

  29. Propaniac says:

    There’s no effin’ way I’m calling a fast food cashier a barista.

  30. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Didn’t an employee at Arby’s get shot over something like this for some packets of Horsey sauce?

  31. alfista says:

    Love the fingerprint on the tomato in the pic…

  32. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @aaron8301:
    I don’t know what a Whopper costs, but I did see the “Waste Sheet” at McD’s & it had a Big Mac as costing that McD 51¢. That was earlier this year & Big Macs were around $2.39 each to buy..

  33. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @zouxou: What I can’t stand are the people that take a six-inch stack of napkins, use two or three, then throw the rest away.

  34. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Yeah so? Do you think the restaurant gets if for free? Sheesh. Stop freeloading.

  35. dame1234 says:

    @KingPsyz: I believe that you’re right on this.

  36. theninjasquad says:

    BBQ sauce is made with tomatoes as well.

  37. Falconfire says:

    for a 75 cents sandwich being charged 7 bucks, they better pour that shit down my throat.

    Im sorry but the apologists can BITE ME. These food is cheap cheap cheap. Burger King, Wendys McD’s make MILLIONS in profit a year. They can stand to pay a couple thousand for stuff to put on the damn things.

  38. waydownriver says:

    This is like Consumerist for hillbillies.

    This would be a much better consumer blog if there were far fewer postings on fast food.

  39. HRHKingFriday says:

    Well now that I’m out of college, I’d call it freeloading. But a few years ago, my roommates and I used to stock our fridge with free condiments. Whatever saves a buck, right?

  40. Quellman says:

    They charge because of unclear policy. Most ‘baristas’ don’t care so they don’t ring it up.

    What you should do is charge $0.11 to your credit card. Then they get stuck for a CC fee. Eat that BK Lounge!

  41. varco says:

    @aaron8301: Restuarants often charge for nonstandard condiments or ones that have non-trivial costs.

    Businesses have to make the decision whether they want to charge and consumers have to decide whether they want to buy, but no one is owed any extra sauce packets (no matter how much they want them).

  42. macgyver314 says:

    Aaron8301,
    It’s true that gas stations give you paper towels and a little window cleaner when you buy gas. Those things are both very inexpensive and, more importantly, they chose to provide them free when with each gas purchase before they set their gas prices. If you fill up your tank would you expect them to give you a free cup of coffee (food cost on which is probably less than 10 cents making it cheaper than what BK pays for BBQ sauce these days). Of coarse you wouldn’t, because that’s not something they offer for free with a gas purchse.
    Bk offer lots of freebies with a food purchase. Ketchup, napkins, salt, etc. Those things are very inexpensive and, more importantly, they are included in the price. They choose not to inculde free BBQ and Honey Mustard sauce. Okay. I don’t see the problem. If you want some, they’ll sell it to you at cost.

  43. mcjake says:

    This is old news. McDonalds has been pulling that shit for years.

  44. spinachdip says:

    @aaron8301: Seriously, do the idiots here not understand the concept of loss leader? OMG WE CANNOT LOSE MONEY ON BBQ SAUCE PACKETS! OTHERWISE WE MUST RELY SOLELY ON RIDICULOUSLY MARGINS CHARGED ON FRIES AND SODA, AND WELL, EVERYTHING ELSE! WE’RE DOOMED! DOOMED!

  45. SabrinaFaire says:

    That’s what you get for calling the guy behind the counter a Barista.

  46. coan_net says:

    BBQ sause cups cost more then ketchup packets – so they don’t want to give those away. They have been charging a small amount around here for at least 5 years…. then again, for the 5 years before that, I ALWAYS asked for a BBQ cup so I could dip my fries in it.

    TIP when in drive through: Wait until you hand the person your money and or food, and ask for some ketchup & a BBQ sause – if there is a line of cars, many times they won’t bother trying to charge you for it.

    TIP when you dine inside: Take food to table, wait a minute, then go back up to counter and say “I just got some nuggets and need a BBQ suase packet” – unless it is a very slow day and you are the only one in there, they will give it to you without question.

  47. savvy999 says:

    Don’t ask for the Grey Poupon, the creepy King will eat your firstborn.

  48. SpenceMan01 says:

    I think that if you make a food purchase, you should be entitled to a reasonable amount of condiments. There’s no reason to deny someone some free BBQ sauce for their value meal. I agree that they could/should be kept behind the counter, but good customer service is worth the extra nickel/dime/quarter that it costs to supply it for a customer.

  49. SaveMeJeebus says:

    I swear today has to be one of the funniest days of commenting ever on Consumerist.

  50. varco says:

    @coan_net: TIP put a baby mouse into an empty bottle of beer (when it’s still small enough to fit). When it grows up, you can go back to the beer factory and say “Hey, there’s a mouse in my beer” and they’ll give you a new case of beer. I saw a Canadian documentary on it once.

  51. exkon says:

    Aww poor college kid. You know that $7 + you spent at BK could have been better spent…

  52. varco says:

    @SpenceMan01: On a similar note, the burger patties must cost them something like 10 or 20 cents each (around the same cost as a couple of the barbecue sauce packets). Is there any reason they should deny me a double burger for the price of a single burger?

  53. protest says:

    11 cents? a bargain compared to Wendy’s, which wants 30 cents for theirs. still, what a wierd number.

  54. RhymePhile says:

    //Mr. Burns:

    “Ketchup..Catsup. Ketchup…Catsup.”

  55. Hoss says:

    @youbastid: Actually, calling a calling a cashier a barista is more like calling the a gas station attendant a plumber. A barista is a person trained in mixing coffee drinks

  56. Hoss says:

    Where’s the edit button?

  57. macgyver314 says:

    FalconFire,
    You misunderstan the economics of the fast food restaurant industry. Most BKs are individually owned franchises. Most BKs are owned by individuals who pay a fee to use the BK brand. The owner is very, very lucky if he’s making enough money to live off from that one store. This is an incredibly tough time for the fast food industry. Fast food places are closing all the time. Don’t try to apply the “this company makes millions so they should give me free stuff logic”. Not only is it flawed logic even if the company was raking it in, it also doesn’t apply here.
    And Spinachdip, I have two things to say to you. This is NOT the place for name calling. Please refrain from using any more derogatory terms to describe fellow posters. This is not a forum. Second, I do understand the math involved here perfectly well. After you factor in waste, credit card fees, and other “per transaction” expenses the markup on a Value Meal is around $3.00. That markup is their only source of income. If BK decided they’d rather lose .00001% of their customers than let .1% eat significantly into that margin by giving them however many free BBQ sauce cups they want, that’s their decision and frankly it’s the right one.

  58. DallasDMD says:

    Giving somebody a token container of BBQ sauce is worth more than possibly depriving yourself of future business because of the stinginess perceived by your customers.

    If profit margins are so thin that BK loses money on giving somebody a container or two of BBQ sauce, then the problems are with the business model, not the customer’s demands.

  59. Munsoned says:

    I’d pay the $0.11 for two reasons: 1) I’d want to see the high school dropout on the other side of the counter have to do the math to figure out what the return change is. 2) I’d take the chance that they would not give me a reciept for the purchase, and by store policy (at Wendy’s at least), would have to give me the meal (i.e., the BBQ sauce) for free anyway.

    BWWAAA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

  60. 12monkeys says:

    When this happens to me, I ask them to refund my meal.Usually they just give me the bbq sauce.

  61. sheas says:

    Do you know what slays me? When I ask for a some honey at Wendy’s and they tell me that it costs $.25 a container. So I ask for two (I like to dip my fries in honey for those who are wondering). Then I pull away and get home only to realize that they’ve charged me $.50 AND I STILL HAVE NO FUCKING HONEY.

  62. Munsoned says:

    And by the way, something looks askew with that tomato on the sandwich in the picture…

  63. kityglitr says:

    This just reminds me of when I worked at Subway in Athens, Georgia a long damn time ago… We often had customers who wanted so much mayo and mustard on their sandwiches that we would use close to half a bottle! Now, I’m black, so I can get away with saying this: Black people love condiments. They also love free shit. When you combine the two, what the hell else do you expect other than fast food chains charging for bbq sauce!?! Side note: I also love me some mayo, but not the whole damn bottle. That is all.

  64. DallasDMD says:

    @macgyver314: “If BK decided they’d rather lose .00001% of their customers than let .1% eat significantly into that margin by giving them however many free BBQ sauce cups they want, that’s their decision and frankly it’s the right one.”

    I don’t believe that. It wasn’t that long ago when fast food charged you to refill your soft drink. Now, refills are free nearly everywhere.

    Nickel and diming your customers for things that they perceive to be part of what they already paid for is bad for business and I think most marketing campaigns recognize this by tuning their pricing models and advertisements to let everyone know they don’t have to pay extra for certain goodies.

    BK loses nothing by adding a cent or two to their prices to average the cost of the 1 out of 5 customers who wants a couple of containers of ketchup or BBQ sauce.

  65. dlab says:

    You didn’t know? I had somebody try and charge me 25 cents for one of those in 1998.

    Fortunately it seems to be an issue only with franchised stores — they’re the ones with the most to gain from pulling stuff like that.

  66. DallasDMD says:

    @kityglitr: The solution is simple. Let customers have a reasonable amount of condiments for free and charge for extra beyond that.

  67. SpenceMan01 says:

    @varco:

    Many places put extra meat, sour cream, etc. on the menu with a price. If they were to put the condiments on the menu with a price, I wouldn’t argue. Sliding the cost in without notice (ie: “By the way, that’ll be twenty-five cents”) is what I don’t like.

    Also, I think reasonable expectation comes into play. I don’t think one would reasonably expect to get free extra patties of beef on their Whopper, but I do think that one could reasonably expect to get extra sauce, etc. Maybe that way of thinking is on the way out and that’s why we’ve got a post about it on here.

  68. DallasDMD says:

    @Quellman: “What you should do is charge $0.11 to your credit card. Then they get stuck for a CC fee. Eat that BK Lounge!”

    Yep, and the VISA/MC rules prohibit them from denying the charge.

    They might even lose money on the transaction.

    Stop being stingy and give us a single friggin’ container of BBQ sauce!!!

  69. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    @macgyver314: Great point. Dont forget they have to pay thier franchise fees, labor, power, gas, insurance, workers comp and a hundred other items. So that burger may only cost $.50 in raw material, but by the time its actually sold may account for $3-$4 or more in cost to the company. I love the people who argue that “Such and such only cost X to make, so I should get it for Y” without factoring in the total process cost.

  70. TheSeeker says:

    $0.11 for sauce for a condom free sandwich sounds ok to me.

    [consumerist.com]

  71. McDonalds does the same thing depending on which store you visit.

  72. Munsoned says:

    @kityglitr: Not a racial thing at all: My (very white) family’s motto is: “If it’s for free, it’s for me!” No, cheapness knows no racial boundaries.

  73. Will Clarke says:

    The Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Popeye’s near where I work all charge no less than $0.25 per tub of BBQ sauce. I’ve just gotten used to paying it.

  74. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    @JustRunTheDamnBallBillick.:Also, since this appears to be a store near a college, Im not shocked they limit extras. I remember we darn near ran the local pizza place out of business when they forgot to put an expiration date or a “limit per” on some back to school coupons one year. They actually changed the stores name to make the coupons invalid after getting overwhelmed with photocopied coupons (they were originally in a flier, so no difference)

  75. PracticalMagic says:

    This is the day in age where everything “extra” costs “extra”. If the sandwich doesn’t come with b-b-q sauce, then it should be extra. Just like adding a strip of bacon. I’ve been in optics for years. If you buy a frame that is drill mounted, or rimless, then the cost of that mounting (drilling the holes, or doing a rimless edge) costs more. Generally, most reputable companies will add this into the cost of the frame, rather than charge that as an add-on.

    You would think that most companies would charge what is advertised, as part of the burger, etc. If it’s something diff. from the norm, then they should be able to charge extra. Costs are rising, and with the interest rates, gas prices, etc, then people should expect this. Hell, look at the price of food at the grocery store. Everything is going up, and there’s no room for extras. You can’t blame them. Freebies? NO MORE, I suspect.

  76. macgyver314 says:

    DALLASDMD,
    Okay, you got me. When I said it’s BK’s decision and frankly it’s the right one, I was lying. It is the wrong decision. I only voiced my agreement to spite some other posters, but it just makes me look like a moron. It is still BKs decision. They either need to make them free or get rid of them. Strangely, I think people who get angry at not being able to get a BBQ sauce cup for free would be much less angry if BBQ sauce wasn’t available at all. The human mind is a very weird thing. No wonder companies are always doing market research to figure out ways to manipulate us.
    P.S. Everyone here seems to be thinking about free BBQ sauce as one cup. You do all realise that if they make it free, then they’ll have to give out 3, 4, or even 15 when people ask for that many. If your solution is to set a limit and charge for everything beyone that, well, that’s what they do now. The limit is a certain number with each size chicken tender or chicken fry order and then an 11c charge for each one after that. If all you disagree with is the number, then you’re either making too big a deal out of it or being to “me-centric” by assuming the number you prefer should be the limit.

  77. varco says:

    @DallasDMD: And BK (or their local franchisee) has determined that free ketchup and napkins are reasonable, but that barbecue sauce is too expensive to be given away freely.

  78. emona says:

    @DallasDMD: BK loses nothing by adding a cent or two to their prices to average the cost of the 1 out of 5 customers who wants a couple of containers of ketchup or BBQ sauce.

    This whole thing reminds me of Chik Fil A. I’m a huge fan of their tea, and the price of a large has gone from $1.35 to $1.58 in the span of two years. I suspected it was because their costs were high – they hand out sauces like they rain from the sky.

    I don’t use sauces on my sandwiches for fries, not even ketchup. It is irritating to have to swallow the bill for someone else in the form of price increases, especially for a longtime customer. You want extra sauce? Pay for it, otherwise I’ll have to and that’s BS.

  79. DallasDMD says:

    @quarterly: What else do you not want to pay for?

    You drink less than everyone else, but you don’t get to pay less for the privilege of only refilling once instead of twice.

    You don’t want tomatoes or pickles? Well too bad, you’re paying for them anyway.

    The point is, itemizing everything makes it hard for both the customer and the business, so these costs get averaged in.

    Denying someone a packet of BBQ sauce is just stingy and by judging the comments on here, obviously pisses off a lot of customers.

  80. DallasDMD says:

    @varco: Missing my point entirely. Please read what I said again.

  81. DallasDMD says:

    @macgyver314: You’re free to express your opinion and I’m free to counter your opinion. You don’t get to comment on here without fear of someone disagreeing with you.

    “If your solution is to set a limit and charge for everything beyone that, well, that’s what they do now. “

    No, they are charging the customer in this story for even wanting a single packet. What I am trying to say is giving a customer a BBQ packet or two is a sound investment for pleasing the occasional customer who wants it and will likely contribute to future business for the company

  82. azntg says:

    The policy of charging for condiments is dependent on the restaurant itself. In my part of NYC (eastern LIC / Sunnyside / Woodside), charging for extra packets of condiments or refills of the fountain drinks are virtually unheard of (at least for the latter, many but not all restaurants will refill for free).

    However, whenever I go to some of the other neighborhoods of NYC (e.g.: deep in Flatbush, Jamaica, etc.). I did experience more restaurants charging me for extra packets. No thanks.

  83. DrGirlfriend says:

    The upcharge on sodas (costs cents to make, they sell it for a dollar and up) should help offset these outragous condiment fees.

  84. macgyver314 says:

    @DallasDMD,
    The current limit BK has set is something like 2 for each Chicken Tender or Chicken Fry order, 3 for each large chicken tender or chicken fry, and 0 for other items. Are you saying that having a limit is okay, but the limit itself should be higher? Just legitimately curious what you feel is the appropraite cut-off before they start charging at cost, or what the policy should be if it should be something different than that.

  85. gingerCE says:

    I don’t have a problem with this. I have seen a couple signs like this at fast food places where extra ketchup packets above X amount are 10 cents each etc . . .

    I ‘ve seen people stuff extra splenda packets, ketchup, etc . . . that you know are going to be used for purposes beyond their meal there. Since I tend to use very few condiments, I don’t really care if those who like condiments have to pay extra.

  86. macgyver314 says:

    I think we’re all missing the point. Giving free stuff to those rich people who can afford to put BBQ sauce on their Value Meal sandwiches and letting the rest of us absorb the cost is just another way big business is making the the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This is practically a tax break for the rich. This is just like how businesses raise prices to recoup the high cost of accepting credit cards due to cash back and rewards programs thereby leaving people who use food stamps to foot the bill (covered by Consumerist). In fact, I bet it’s these same BBQ eating, SUV driving, wealthy fat cats who caused the sub-prime burger meltdown in the first place.
    In case you can’t tell, that was sarcastic. It was also completely unintelligible and somewhat crazy.

  87. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    @DrGirlfriend: obviously you either didnt read the early replies or you dont understand how business works. The markup on a single item doesnt exist in a vacuum.

  88. Roadkill says:

    So? I wish you ALWAYS had to pay for condiments. Then maybe people wouldn’t be so wasteful with them.

    That’s what happens in Europe at least.

  89. jesuismoi says:

    McDonalds three weeks ago:

    I want the burger that has onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard and ketchup (can’t remember the name). Hold the onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup. Add mac sauce.

    They did this… and charged me a $.25 for the mac sauce. Don’t the pickles, onions, mustard and ketchup I paid for but didn’t want equate with the mac sauce?

  90. Comeaja says:

    Oh dear god. Eleven cents! We’ll all be broke!

    This is not news, this is dumb.

  91. HalOfBorg says:

    If you buy a new car with no tires, no radiator and no passenger seat, does that mean that the car bra should be free?

  92. Nstef007 says:

    I used to work at Chick-fil-A so I can speak for their policies. Every CFA is owned by an individual operator so I suppose that gives them a bit of personal choices at each store but all the ones I’m familiar with follow these.
    Sauces are free but you have to ask for them. Employees are told to give two to each person when they ask, but to give an extra one or two if the person requests more. I was never asked for more than that.
    Lemonade and tea are are more expensive than soda b/c they require more time, materials and manpower. We have to cut lemons and squeeze lemon juice, brew tea etc.
    We offered free refills as long as you were in the store, but mall restaurants generally only give one (to prevent people buying a drink at breakfast and then coming back at 4pm looking for some more)
    Costs are going up, that’s why prices go up. Employees were told to try to keep costs down though. We had to start weighing the amount of “ice dream” we gave out to make sure we were giving the correct amount of ounces and be sure not to spill too much and whatnot.
    Oh, and while we charge an extra .30 cents for lettuce and tomato, if you order the grilled chicken sandwich, which comes with both, and request it plain, we’ll take off the 30 cents. Pickles (adding or leaving off) don’t change prices though.

  93. freshyill says:

    Barista? Classiest BK ever?

  94. Genocyde says:

    @macgyver314: I used to work at a BK when I was a kid too, and when someone asked for BBQ or Ranch or whatever, I’d just put it in the bag. Why? Well, when you’re spending $20+ to feed a family of four, the least you can do is give them some fucking ketchup and BBQ sauce if they request it. You’re the type of asshole I hated working with and I hope you’re still in some menial position, $0.11 is justified…please. You’ve obviously never heard of customer service granting you return business, you douche.

  95. macgyver314 says:

    @Jesiusmoi,
    No. The labor expense of making the custom sandwich you described plus the cost of the Mac sauce makes it cost McD’s more than if you ordered the sandwich as is. I really don’t feel like explaining the micro-detials, so please just trust me on this one.

  96. num1skeptic says:

    this post embarrases me. i told my boss about this site. he thinks its a joke.

  97. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I like calling the counter jockeys baristas, too. For one thing, when you call them all the same thing, but only tip the ones at Starbucks, it makes you think.

    Or something.

    I don’t drink coffee or go to Starbucks, but I do love to see people squirm to explain why the people at Starbucks are magically different and deserving of cash-based love that the chick at Burger King is somehow not entitled to.

    Sorry for the thread-jack. Just sayin’.

  98. macgyver314 says:

    @Genocyde,
    There is no place for your foul language, name calling, or confrontational attitude on here. This is a place for professional comments about this article.

  99. Gopher bond says:

    umm, don’t like it, don’t eat there? Gotta vote with your wallets. Humans are monkeys and there’s no way to make them behave rationally.

  100. spinachdip says:

    @macgyver314: I actually don’t disagree with you on pretty much every point, including the part about calling people idiots. I just get tired of the singleminded ideologs (for wont of a better word) who ignore the real world and human nature.

    Well, except I just don’t see a rash of non-chicken eatin’ BK customers rushing in for BBQ sauce packets just because they’re free. For the most part, people just don’t order off-menu at fast food places (I mean, why would an independent minded person eat fast food anyway? Fast food is expensive, uses cheap ingredients of dubious safety and quality standards, and generally stuff that’s easy to make, hence, fast food. BTW, did you know you can order “short” at Starbucks? Or that you can ask for the special sauce at McD’s for non-Big Mac orders? Wow, that was a long parenthetical aside.).

    Look, I’m aware that fast food restaurants have operating expenses and franchiseeship isn’t the cash cow that franchisers would have you believe it is (gasp!). But if a business that pays minimum wage with minimal benefits and sells hundreds of cups of colored syrup for $1 or more can’t survive, losing money on sauce packs is the least of its problems. They’re just with the wrong franchiser (oh, like Subway) or they shouldn’t be operating a business.

    You’re right, conceivably, giving away BBQ sauce on non-BBQ sauced products could put a dent in their profits, but that’s not going to happen. And if this BK franchise wants to protect itself from running itself into the ground by giving away too many free sauce packs, then that’s a decision they’re free to make. Except that’s not going to happen in the real world.

    What does happen in the real world is, loyal and potentially loyal customers turn into disillusioned ones. And disillusioned customers have friends and family whom they can influence. More significantly, giving out free BBQ sauce packs plays into BK’s “Have It Your Way” branding.

    So for the cost of a single BBQ sauce pack per visit, you keep a customer happy AND you protect and reinforce branding that BK took billions of dollars to develop. How is this supposed to be a bad thing?

  101. RandomHookup says:

    I remember that the BK in Amsterdam charged some small amount for mayo. That was really tough because the Dutch loves thems some mayo on their fries.

  102. UpsetPanda says:

    Chick-fil-a doesn’t charge for sauce, and every time I ask, they give me two cubelets! Take that, BK! Oh and sometimes I combine sauces, and they give me two of each…how’s that for sauciness?

  103. Munsoned says:

    Wow. I can’t believe 11 cent BBQ sauce generated 100 posts! Was I number 100?

  104. Munsoned says:

    Nope, looks like 101…

  105. uricmu says:

    Actually, about 10-20 years ago, you had to pay for Ketchup at all McDonald’s in Europe. Not sure if it’s still that way.

  106. waydownriver says:

    OMG I had to come back, and I’m glad I did. This stream of comments is a classic. Monty Python and Mad TV collaborating couldn’t have come up with a more hilariously moronic discussion. And the guy who admits to eating at Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Popeye’s. Priceless!

    I’ve got to get a screen grab of this.

  107. uricmu says:

    Arby’s also gives you all the sauce you’d want for free.

  108. zeroraveson says:

    Buy the 11 cent sauce on a new transaction on your credit card, then the franchise is paying more than the 11 cents to Visa/Mastercard/AmEx. I figure that when things like that start showing up on an accounting ledger, it will stop such nonsense.

  109. threlkelded says:

    I’m sorry, I just need to point out that “barista” is a word for someone who serves espresso, NOT crappy burgers.

    It has nothing to do with Starbucks, either. They didn’t make up the word, they just use it.

    I’m just sayin’.

  110. comopuedeser says:

    Chick-Fil-A does have just about the best customer service of all fast food restaurants. How come people don’t realize, good customer service = higher customer loyalty = more money?

  111. humperdinck says:

    I love the commenters who think The Consumerist should be above fast food-related posts. You guys seem like really fun people.

  112. Though I haven’t been overseas in almost a decade, I found that many fast food places in Europe charged extra for ketchup.

    Here’s my ridiculous fast food charges story: I was buying a meal for my girlfriend and I at a food court Taco Bell and asked for a large water (I drink a lot of water, and fast, so I usually ask for a large wherever I go). The clerk punched a button and a $1.29 charge appeared on the screen. As she filled the cup I asked, incredulous, if she was charging me a buck twenty-nine for water, and she said that she was, because I wanted a large. I asked if a small water was free, and she said it was. So I asked her if I could get two small waters instead, and she cheerfully informed me that I could. She took off the $1.29 charge, tossed out the water and cup she had just filled, and filled two slightly smaller cups. To this day I’m baffled. I’m almost certain that the two small cups and their contents cost more than the large cup and its contents, but neither could have been worth more than a dime.

  113. SaveMeJeebus says:

    I went to Taco Bell once and they upcharged me $.50 for some lettuce and tomato on my bean burrito. All that is normally on the burrito is a ice cream scoop of beans, a sprinkle of cheese, on a half stale tortilla for $.99. The lettuce and tomato comes for free on a tostada, and the tostada is $.20 cheaper than the bean burrito. I would just get the tostada but it is on a fried tortilla shell and doesn’t offer the portability that I desired with the burrito. What the hell is wrong with this picture? The good thing is that Taco Bell proudly displays their sporks and three tiers of taco sauces where a customer can reach them and grab an excessive amount to bring home and use later.

  114. pyloff says:

    What kind of crack was this fella on?

  115. scampy says:

    So they charge extra for a BBQ sauce but they NEVER reduce the price of my meal when I ask for my sandwich without tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles.

  116. pyloff says:

    The secret is fill up on napkins…

    I always keep a vehicle stocked.

  117. scampy says:

    @comopuedeser:

    And you pay for that service at Chik-Fil-A. They are probably the most expensive fast food place as well.

  118. macgyver314 says:

    @scampy:
    Of coarse you don’t get a discount for that. Buying a non-standard sandwich costs them pennies more in labor than if you bought the sandwich the way it normally comes.

  119. ShariC says:

    The reason fast food shops charge for these types of things is the same reason they charge for water. It’s not the cost of the food or drink, but the cost of the cups or containers. Giving away freebies like this on a regular basis can be costly for the restaurants. The food is already quite cheap so their profit margins aren’t exceptionally fat.

    And the problem isn’t that there will be a rush for extras (like water, sauce in plastic cups or whatnot). The problem is that a policy has to be made for employees to follow. The line has to be drawn somewhere and this particular place allows for all the condiment packets you want and draws the line at requests which use up more expensive consumables. Businesses cannot be ran without guidelines and high volume businesses that give in to every customer request (some of which are quite frivolous and wasteful) may see an impact on their bottom line (not to mention find that their inventory of consumables may need adjusting).

    People criticize fast food places for the low pay they offer and the lack of benefits they give their employees yet they complain about paying a few pennies more for extras. Seriously, eleven cents? Are our lives so comfortable that this is what we take the time to complain about?

  120. algormortis says:

    me to dude at the local BK earlier: “there’s some burger kings that charge for sauce.”
    dude at the local BK: “the two cents it costs us to keep you happy is apparently worth 11 cents and an annoyed customer? poorly played.”
    me to dude at the local BK: “i take it we’re safe?”
    dude at the local BK: “i’m not charging for dipping happiness, and seeing as that i’m the manager, i don’t even know what the heck i’d program that as. poorly-run franchise charge?

    so, people who want more sauce, see the dudes at the burger king in factoria. i got two fry sauces with my fries, a chuckle about the dude’s reply, and a pretty good whopper out of it.

  121. redkamel says:

    thats BS, no way I’d pay for my sauce. I wonder how much money it costs to make a giant vat of that stuff….probably a few dollars. And it probably makes 1000s of packets. Also, how is it ok to have all you can drink free refills but not some free ketchup and sauce? Also, they dont charge for ketchup and sauce at real restauraunts. Nickel and diming is a cheap way to go.

    They dont take any money off my burger when I order it plain. And how come they charge the same for iced tea, since coca-cola probably costs more to make? They should also charge more if I want my soda “no-ice” since now I get more soda. I want all of my foods to be individually adjusted for only how much I use!

    PS I also hate starbucks, and I would never tip a “barista” at any place (unless it not a chain). I also make sure to always order anything as small, medium, or large at a coffee place…and pretend not to understand the venti or whatever word they want to use. Starbucks is not from Italy. Most of their blends are not from Italy. I am not in Italy. I am in America. And all my drinks are small, medium or large. If there is no middle size, they are small or large, not medium or large. Rant…OFF.

  122. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @redkamel: You are aware that you would have to drink 4 gallons of soda to break even on the actual cost of the drink, right? That’s like, two Hugo drinks.

  123. specialed5000 says:

    @Swirlee: I worked for a Taco Bell franchise several years ago, and we did the same thing. The reason for it is that 99% of all Taco Bells have self service drinks, so if they gave you a large cup of water, they would have no way of preventing you from filling it with soda. I’m sure that you wouldn’t do that, but believe me, a LOT would. Before we started doing that, people would wait until we weren’t looking to go dump the water and fill it with soda, or send someone else up, or much of the time we were to busy to watch them anyway. We used a 12 ounce cup for water, a size of soda we didn’t sell, so we could always be sure that if we ever saw a 12 ounce cup with anything not clear in it, or ever saw someone taking it to the drink bar, that they were stealing.

  124. Wubbytoes says:

    Paying for extra things isn’t really that strange of a concept.

  125. DjDynasty says:

    The Burger King by me has a sign in clear view of the customers titled “Where’s my raise” and states how much each condiment item costs to produce, and employee’s who are extra stingy with those items are most likely to be promoted and given raises. And I have been charged much more than 11cents for a packet of BBQ Sauce. But they pulled the same crap on me, So I ordered the Chicken Fries to get the BBQ Sauce, then handed the chicken fries right back and said “These don’t taste that good, Can I have a refund” after taking a small bite out of one of the fries. It makes them realize that customers can make them lose more than 11 cents.

  126. scoosdad says:

    Honestly I’d rather pay 11 cents for a condiment I would really use, than to have the “barista” shove five sweet and sour sauces at me along with a five piece McNugget meal.

    Those four extra sauces time “billions and billion” adds up, and guess who eventually pays the bill for this excess? Hint: it’s not the stockholders.

  127. spinachdip says:

    @Wubbytoes: Neither is giving away a cheap item as a loss leader.

    You know that saying, about people who know the price of everything but the value of nothing? That pretty much describes the posters here who, for some reason, can’t understand how stupid it is to charge 11 cents for a sauce packet because OMG IT COSTS MONEY AND THAT’S WHY FAST FOOD PRICES ARE SO HIGH!!!

    @scoosdad: So I suppose, in your world, simply asking the customer what sauce they want (which has happened every single time I’ve ordered chicken tenders at any fast food restaurant, oddly enough!) is simply not an option. And it happens “billions and billions” of times? And *that’s* why a cup of colored, carbonated flavored syrup costs $1 and more? What a strange world you live in.

  128. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    I remember going to europe for the first time and getting annoyed at being charged for ketchup packets. Back in the states I went thru a drive thru at some heartburn castle (McD’s or BurgerKing) and the girl in the window asked if I wanted ketchup then proceeded to grab a HANDFUL of packets and throwing them into the bag. I counted a total of 15. I just knew one day they would start charging. And as much as I love the US we really do waste ALOT of these packets. At my current job there are people with BUCKETS of packets from all the major burger joints around town just sitting there never used.

  129. czarandy says:

    I don’t understand all this complaining. No one is forcing you to shop at Burger King/Taco Bell/whatever. If you don’t like their policies don’t buy there. Apparently charging for sauces makes them more money than not doing it, so it’s a perfectly rational decision.

  130. dantsea says:

    This charging for condiments thing seems to be a policy at fast food places located near high concentrations of college students or vagrants.

    Though there are some exceptions, especially at local businesses. Dick’s (insert your giggling here), a Seattle burger chain, has always charged for all condiments. Well, ketchup and tartar sauce, which seem to be the only extras offered.

  131. macgyver314 says:

    Judging by the last few dozen posts I think people need a reminder. Nobody said BK is charging for ketchup packets or other regular condiments. The point is that BK charges 11c (the price they pay) for those expensive little pre-portioned BBQ sauce cups and even then that’s only if you don’t buy chicken tenders. Those BBQ sauce cups each cost more than a chicken tender does. BK never carried BBQ sauce before they had chicken tenders, and never had any intention of distributing them as a normal condiment. If they got rid of chicken tenders they would get rid of BBQ sauce in a heartbeat.

  132. macgyver314 says:

    @DjDynasty:
    You’re lucky you happened to get a manager who was incompetent enough to give you a refund on a purchased food item because you simply didn’t like it.

  133. PinkBox says:

    I think they should allow you to have a BBQ packet as long as you ordered a food item. Obviously they shouldn’t give them away for free if you hadn’t ordered anything.

    I rarely get fast food, but when I do, I never get the mayo/mustard/ketchup that usually comes on most sandwiches. I’d rather use BBQ sauce instead. Seems silly to pay extra in that case.

    It is also a headache if they ask you to pay that 11 cents after the fact, and you only have your card handy.

  134. kc2idf says:

    As far as I know, this policy of BK’s has been in place for a long time (though it is 15¢ plus tax (total 17¢) in our area.

    However, I have never seen the employees enforce this. They usually aren’t interested in ringing up such a small order, and the managers don’t seem to care. As such, I have never actually had to pay this charge, even though I get some for my fries (I hate ketchup) every time I go to BK.

  135. Gopher bond says:

    1. This is a franchise fast-food restaurant. Loss leaders do not work. There is no need to keep customers happy because there is no customer loyalty.

    2. All the food is poop. You’re all eating poop and then complaining about how many corn pieces you find.

    3. The only sensible thing to do is vote with your wallet. Go ahead, eat poop somewhere else. A franchise can save thousands of dollars a year with small savings like this.

  136. miamizkitten says:

    I went to Europe this summer and they charge you even for ketchup! I almost flipped. How can I truly enjoy my McDonald’s fries w/o ketchup? Its just not the same experience.

  137. elangomatt says:

    I agree with you that paying 11 cents for BBQ sauce is annoying, but it is to be expected if your sandwich isn’t supposed to come with it. The cost of the BBQ sauce is included in the sandwiches it is supposed to come with. I have a worse story than this actually. At Wendy’s the other day, I ordered a chili off of the value menu ($1.29) and the cashier asked if I wanted onions and cheese (no mention of it costing any extra). I said yes, and the chili price went up to $1.69. So they charged 20 cents for a few onions and another 20 cents for a few shreds of cheese.

  138. nelsonj1998 says:

    Condiments should be included with the meal. If they don’t want to give up the BBQ sauce, tell em no thanks… forget the whole order. Then go across the street and order from McDonald’s.

  139. MostNutsEver says:

    Zaxby’s does the same thing,although not universally. Sometimes I can go there as ask for honey mustard sauce with the fingers (because that Zax sauce is incredibly disgusting), and its not a problem. Every now and then they will ask me to pay a quarter for it. Its not the money that bothers me, its just you expect to get condiments for free with a meal. It seems ridiculous to have pay for little packets of sauce. The other day I went by there and the girl told me I would have to exchange the sauce for the honey mustard…that was reasonable…but it still seemed silly. Even if they are saving money, I hate to be nickeled and dimed like that.

  140. Trick says:

    I think it is the way you ask… the better half says she has been asked to pay for extra sauce in the past because she says “Can I get a extra sauce?”

    I have never even had someone think about asking me as I usually say “I need one sauce, please.”

    Seems to work… Of course the better half jokes because she is Filipino and I am white, that is why I always get them for free!

  141. psyop63b says:

    This is a hit-or-miss situation. Some places have people that do that, others don’t.

    I remember the first time a woman at McDonald’s pulled that on me. It was such B.S. I never patroned that location again.

  142. hi says:

    Can we get BK’s phone numbers and esculate this issue with upper management? I’m sure they will take this very seriously. Although nobody else will.

  143. spinachdip says:

    @testsicles: No customer loyalty? Good lord, the franchiser is spending billions to build the brand and there’s no loyalty? Whether it’s the franchiser or the franchisee, someone’s doing something wrong here. Just as I’m not actually sympathetic to the original poster, I hardly feel any for the BK manager. If the franchisee agreement is so restrictive that they have to squeeze every penny, they’re obviously not capitalizing on the brand and it’s time to get out. So again, charging for sauce packets is either shortsighted or indicative of a poor business model.

    No disagreements on points 2 and 3, though.

  144. jesuismoi says:

    @ Macguyver314

    Then the charge should be for specially ordering an item… not what I do with it.

    The McDonalds by our house also charges you $.30 if you order extra ice in the cup for your coke. It doesn’t ring up that way, so when they see it go in as extra ice, no charge, they actually back out then charge you for an extra cup of ice.

    My spouse is a former McDonalds manager — ice is less than free, commercial ice makes make more ice than they can use in a day but they have to pay for syrup.

    If the prices are so tight that you have to create horrible customer experiences — change the prices!

  145. Nytmare says:

    @SadSam: Well, after you add tax it comes out to an even 12 cents.

  146. hi says:

    This will add up to about or maybe close to 2000 dollars per year if they were to sell 50 bbq packets per day for that year. I think giving away the packets for free would amount to 2000 dollars being spent to make the customer happy and generate more business. It’s all about the greed… and I doubt they sell 50 bbq packets per year. But then again it’s also someone working for the boss saying “Hey! We can save $500 – $1000 per year if we charge extra for bbq sauce”. Then the boss says “do it”. The End.

  147. hi says:

    I meant I doubt they sell 50 bbq packets per day. not per year oops.

  148. FezMan88 says:

    “The lucrative tomato market.”

    That made me laugh. Isn’t barbecue sauce a more spiced up ketchup anyway?

  149. jankos says:

    I am a manager at a burger king and we would never ever charge for condiments, and I don’t know of any other BK’s that do either. Maybe it is a franchise thing?

    If you’ve ever watched the video “give them the pickle” that’s our policy towards that sort of thing. Look it up.

  150. MystiMel says:

    In England you have to pay for ketchup packets most places, quit whining. The restaurants have to pay and you should too. We’re lucky, especially since half of the customers taking ketchup or asking for it use half or less of the ketchup given. Restaurants probably have a column of loss for prepackaged condiments bought each month. How many packets would you take if you were the one taking the loss?

  151. Rider says:

    I love the way the restaurant industry is held to higher standards then any other industry. At my reasturant my profits are set to around around 50%-80% profit. In reality you end up making more like 30% profit with all the free crap you give away. Guess what you all pay more for the people that get free crap. Everyone is looking at this wrong, you think it’s no big deal for someone to get one BBQ cup, and you are right. However there are idiots that want 5-10 BBQ cups for free. When you are buying a hamburger for 1$, yes lets use the cheapest menu item not everyone is buying triple whoppers. You have just lost money. The easiest most diplomatic way to handle it is to charge EVERYONE close to cost.

  152. failurate says:

    Easy fix for BK… offer the BBQ in both packet form (free) and dip cup form ($.11).

    So the story is, they didn’t have little packets.

  153. Sasquatch says:

    It’s eleven cents.

    $0.11

    A dime and a penny.

    You actually wasted time writing this whole post over eleven cents. Get a grip, man.

  154. RvLeshrac says:

    I worked at a Burger King when I was 16.

    You want to know why fast-food places charge for things like this? Because there are people who will come in and ask for 30 or 40 packs of sauce. There are also people who will reach over the counter and take the entire box of ketchup/mayo/mustard/whatevertheycanreach. It is ‘free,’ so what can you say to them? If you were charging for it, you could charge them with theft, but you’re not.

    Further, in reference to bitching about charges for water cups – a clear plastic ‘water cup’ costs roughly 2-3x the regular (wax-coated paper) cups. *Clear* plastic ‘water cups’ are necessary because people will walk in and ask for a ‘water cup’ and then head straight to the self-service drink station for a Coke or Sprite.

    Everyone underestimates how much these things cost a company over time. Sure, a cup of coke is going to cost, maybe, $0.01 – but multiply that by 10 for one person, every time they come into the restaurant, whether they buy something or not, and you start having problems.

  155. Kounji says:

    It really depends on the franchize, some like to do crazy stuff like charge people for condiments cause they don’t like it cutting into the their bottom line. Others will never do that because they like to keep their customers extra happy

  156. RidgeRunner5 says:

    It had to have been something with that store…I work at a Burger King in Denver and if a customer asks for any sauce, we give them as many packages of the stuff as they desire at no extra cost…

  157. pigeonpenelope says:

    Way back in the day, when I was 17, I worked at BK. I was called a Crew Member. We charged .11 cents for extra sauce. That was back when the Whopper was .99.

  158. That’s weird. My friend, when he ordered a breakfast combination, was told he could have two sauce cubes, and got charged 25 cents for the third. So I don’t see why it wouldn’t be the same for a non-breakfast combination.