The Real Reason There's Often Smoke Around Burger King Locations

Burger King is one of the biggest fast food chains in the United States. According to Delish, one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant, the Whopper, has been a hit for a long time: specifically since 1957. The chain, known for its grilled burgers, has a massive global presence – around 13,000 outlets across the world, and it doesn't intend to slow down anytime soon. 

With so many Burger Kings out there, people are bound to notice a few patterns that they don't always like or understand, like the fact that more often than not, there's plenty of smoke around Burger King outlets. This has led to a few problems in the past. 

Take, for example, an incident in the 1990s involving a Burger King outlet in Columbia, Maryland. As reported by the Baltimore Sun, irate folks living close to the restaurant complained about the amount of smoke and odors being released. One resident said, "It's like having 20 barbecues on at the same time in the neighborhood. It smells like grilled grease. It's gross." After complaints from locals and a citation from the state, the owner of the Burger King bought a $5,000 catalytic converter.

These days, the smoke may not be as evident, but it's still noticeable. If you've ever wondered about the potential reasons, we have an answer for you.

Where there's smoke, there's flame broiler

As an ex-Burger King employee shared in a Reddit post, the company prefers to use flame broilers for their burgers which is why it's not uncommon to see smoke around its restaurants. They wrote, "Whenever you drive by BK and see all the smoke roll out of the roof [it's] from the broiler discharging." As explained by a 2010 GQ piece, the broiler is an essential piece of equipment for the brand and is the reason why its burgers come out so well. In fact, Burger King's then-senior vice president of global product marketing and innovation, John Schaufelberger, called the flame broiler "a game-changing piece of equipment and a significant point of differentiation."

It basically allows employees to control factors such as heat and the time spent on cooking the patties. Also, the company's broilers have evolved to help bring down electricity consumption by a whopping 90 percent, a definite boost to the environment. So, the next time you stop by for a fast food fix, you'll know why you notice smoke outside.