Mistakes Everyone Makes When Ordering Burger King

Your average Burger King location is generally not a place for deep thought and profound philosophy. By design, it's more of a designated zone for eager anticipation and consumption of delicious, greasy calories, and as anyone who's gotten stuck in a line behind that one person who inexplicably takes five minutes to work out what he wants to eat can tell, this can pose a problem if the customer hasn't done their homework. 

Preparation is key in many walks of life, and this very much applies to something as deceptively simple as ordering fast food. While your average Burger King patron might drop in with a general idea of which delicious burger they want to have that particular day, a clever customer will want to do some prep work in order to optimize that flame-grilled experience. After all, there are all sorts of tricks to getting the best out of your BK visit. All you need to know is how to avoid the mistakes everyone makes when ordering Burger King.

Not paying attention to the calorie count of your Burger King order

The fact that fast food is rarely healthy doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention to how many calories your order has ... if only to see how very, very easy it is to overdo your consumption. Per Medical News Today, the average American man needs between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day, and the figure for women is in the 1,600 to 2,400-calorie ballpark. Consider, then, the Texas Double Whopper, which slaps you with 1,876 calories – before you chow down the rest of your meal to the tune of up to 3,508 total calories, not counting the dessert. You can probably see why that might be a problem in the long run.

To be fair, this is an extreme example, since dietitian Diana Gariglio-Clelland considers the Texas Double Whopper the worst Burger King item out there, and not just because of its calorie count (via Eat This, Not That!). "It also contains 51 grams of saturated fat, more than twice the amount recommended for an entire day," she said. "It also has over 3,000 milligrams of sodium, also over 100% of the daily recommended amount." 

Then again, even the esteemed Impossible Burger packs 628 calories, and a large meal can amount to as many as 2,278 calories. Fortunately, Burger King's website is quite helpful with the calorie counts of its items, so it's easy to keep track of how many calories you're munching away in a single sitting. 

Not using any Burger King onion ring hacks

It's pretty much common knowledge that burger places like In-N-Out have a (not so) secret menu, but you can do all sorts of cool menu tricks at Burger King, too ... and a lot of them revolve around the chain's onion rings. These salty, crunchy treats might not have fared all that well in Mashed's fast food onion rings ranking, but to be fair, they were punching in a very different weight class, being made of a flavored paste instead of actual, crisp onion. 

If you take the King's rings for what they are, Hack the Menu notes that they work extremely well as Frings (a combo order of French fries and onion rings), and you can use them and some BBQ sauce to hack yourself a nice Rodeo Burger. Why stop there, though? Burger King has plenty of cool food hacks, many of which just involve ordering a side of Onion Rings and adding that welcome extra layer of onion-flavored crunch to whatever else you happen to be eating. Your imagination is the limit, here. Feel free to experiment ... or just eat the onion rings on their own, if that's your jam. 

Not taking advantage of the Burger King app

Yep, of course Burger King has an app. Do you absolutely need it to get your Whopper fix? Of course not. Should you consider using it to make your Burger King experience as easy and efficient as humanly possible? Totally. 

The Burger King app is everything you need to find your way to a delicious, flame-grilled burger and all the sides your stomach requires, all with the minimum amount of hassle (via AppPicker). It helps you to find the nearest location, gives you easy access to the menu, and even has a mobile payment possibility, should the restaurant in question accept it. The real kicker, though, is that it contains each and every deal, promotion, and discount the chain has going in a handy digital coupon form, which — as every coupon hunter knows all too well — can amount to some serious savings over time. 

App users also get a bunch of mobile-only benefits (per App Store). Oh, and to add a cherry on top of the cake, you can use the app to order in advance, in order to make your fast food even faster. 

Forgetting to customize your Burger King meal

The operative word in the term fast food is "fast," so it can be easy to forget just how malleable the Burger King menu is if you really set your mind to it. Basically, the rule of thumb is that if it's on the Burger King menu, you can stick it in any other part of the menu. 

Some folks have been hacking the menu to go with their keto diet (via Reddit). In 2016, the chain itself suggested adding French Toast Sticks in your breakfast Croissan'wich in a delicious-looking Facebook post. Per Hack the Menu, there's even a secret menu of sorts, which includes custom-built delicacies like the Mustard Whopper (a regular Whopper with the mayo replaced with mustard), BK Ham and Cheese (exactly what it says on the tin — a ham and cheese sandwich built from Burger King's ingredients), and the BK Club (a Chicken Sandwich that comes with cheese, bacon, and tomato).

Sure, mustard on a Whopper might not be everyone's must-have, but the above gives you some idea of how Burger King can fine-tune your meal from a good burger to a custom creation, made exactly how you like it.

Expecting healthy options

The concept of "healthy food" always comes with an asterisk when it comes to fast food restaurants, but even the biggest burger chains are subject to the whims of their customer base ... and as Eat This, Not That! points out, the public's appetites have been trending toward clean, crisp, and salubrious in recent years. Dealing with this shift toward healthy meals is no easy task for any fast food chain, but it's easy to think that as the chain that rolled out the plant-based Impossible Whopper way back in 2019 (per CNet), Burger King is well ahead of the curve when it comes to the health-conscious trend.

Unfortunately, that's not quite the case, and the customers have been noticing. "According to Statista, 39 percent of Americans look for healthy options at fast-food restaurants, and Burger King doesn't appear to know how to cater to this population at all," dietician Lissie Lakatos says (via Eat This, Not That!). "Plus, they don't have more plant-based or healthy options. And with many of their burgers containing a day's worth of fat and sodium in one burger, as well as more than half a days' calories (and that's before you add a soda!), it's a turn-off for the people who would like healthier options." 

As such, it appears that Burger King has actually been losing ground to its competitors, and it would appear this is largely thanks to the health-conscious customers' shying away from the chain's fare.

Not knowing how to use the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine

When it comes to fast food, the "food" bit is only a part of the complete experience. To really make the most of your next Burger King visit, you might want to consider your drink choices, as well. This is especially important if the Burger King location you're visiting has a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine. If you're unsure where to find one, the Coca-Cola Freestyle site provides a handy tracker — and, once you've found one, you're in for a world of possibilities that's nearly on par with choosing a wine pairing for your dinner. 

The whole point of the Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain machine is the mix-and-match opportunities it provides. However, since the contraption's website advertises "100+ choices" of drink combinations, this can easily lead to random selections that may or may not work well, and might even take away from your overall enjoyment of the meal. So, why not minimize the risks and come prepared? An integral part of the new Coca-Cola Freestyle experience is the mobile app, which allows you to handily control the machine with your own phone, and also provides sweet offers and all sorts of other opportunities. What's more, when you're able to create that ultimate mix, you can just save the combination, so you won't have to wing it the next time.   

Not saving your Burger King receipt and using it to score free food

Unless you're really fastidious when it comes to your finances, saving fast food restaurant receipts might not be too high on your list of priorities. When it comes to Burger King, it totally should be, though.

While it's easy to avoid looking at the receipts for fear of the old "oh wow, I spent that much on fast food this week?" phenomenon, it just so happens that the Burger King website has a "contact us" section that gives you the opportunity to fill a short customer experience survey, in exchange for some free grub. All you need to do is punch in the restaurant number in the receipt and fill in the survey, and you'll be rewarded with a code that you can scribble in the receipt you used. Congratulations! What used to be a grim reminder of the total sum of your last Burger King purchase is now a gift card that's good for a completely free Whopper Sandwich, Original Chicken Sandwich, or Croissan'wich Sandwich — whichever your heart desires.

Assuming there are no animal products in Burger King's vegetarian options

Burger King, like most restaurant chains these days, offers vegetarian fare. However, if you want to go full vegan, your possibilities might be slightly more limited — as one particularly unhappy customer found out in 2019, when he sued the fast food chain for cooking their much-touted Impossible Burgers on the same grill as their very, very meat-based burger patties (via CNN Business). 

As such, you shouldn't assume that a Burger King item is automatically devoid of animal-based ingredients just because it contains no meat. That being said, there are ways to keep things fully vegan at Burger King, though you need to be slightly tricky about it (via Veg News). Essentially, your sole salad option — a Garden Side Salad without cheese — is a fairly sad thing, so you might want to stick with the deep-fried, crispy, plant-based fare from the breakfast and daytime menus, such as French Toast Sticks and French fries. Fortunately, the Impossible Whopper is also available fully vegan these days, though it does require "a non-broiler method of preparation," as well as removing the mayo from the ingredients. 

Not optimizing your burger patty game

Burger King's single most famous item is, of course, the Whopper — and as any BK aficionado can readily attest, the great thing about it is that you can also order a double or triple version of the iconic burger, depending on how many flame-grilled patties you feel that your stomach can take at any given time. The thing is, of course, that unless you're well-versed in the art of optimizing the number of patties for your personal enjoyment, you might end up having a less than amazing Burger King experience. 

Since fast food is all about satisfaction, it's worth paying attention to your patty game. The normal Whopper is comparatively heavy on the veggies and sauces, which can make it a downright refreshing experience, as fast food burgers go. If you want to add some protein oomph, the Double Whopper's twin patties can answer the call by bringing a satisfying meatiness in a way that doesn't drown out the rest of the ingredients. 

For the true meat eater, the Triple Whopper is, of course, the preferred game in town. Then again, why stop there? If you want to go truly all in with your Burger King meat experience, you might want to skip Whoppers altogether and order the secret menu item known as the Quad Stacker instead. This towering meat-burger is a glorious combo of four patties, four cheese slices, Special Sauce ... and, of course, bacon. 

Not using the Burger King Royal Perks system

Who wouldn't say yes to the prospect of having to pay less for your Burger King meals? A cool and fairly new way to achieve that goal is to participate in the chain's Royal Perks system. Per People, the program was launched in 2021 to reward loyal customers with great deals and even free food. What's more, that might just be the beginning, since Burger King has revealed it has some pretty big plans for Royal Perks.  

"It feels like we've just accepted what brands have told us is possible with loyalty programs over the years, so as we started working on Royal Perks, it was easy, let's do what the others don't," marketing executive, Ellie Doty explained when it was announced in February 2021. "To make sure we get it right, we're testing, learning and solving this year."

The Royal Perks reward system works by giving the member 10 "Crowns" for every $1 purchase — which is doubled during your birthday month — and exchanging set amounts of Crowns for Burger King purchases. Members also get some cool exclusive offers, such as a recent 2-for-$5 deal for certain menu items, such as the Whopper and the Original Chicken Sandwich (via Chew Boom). Since the project has only just begun, it might very well be worth getting in on the ground floor. Who knows what Royal Perks early adopters will get in the future?

Not taking advantage of Burger King's value deals

As Mashed has told you, Burger King is responsible for some of the best fast food value meals for your money. From the 2 for $4 Mix n' Match breakfast deal to various daytime value meal deals, a savvy customer can find a way to fill their belly with a fraction of the usual cost.   

Burger King has paid careful attention to the value side of their menu as of late. In December 2020, the chain launched the $1 Your Way dollar menu (per Business Insider), a four-item thing that was made for maximum value, and consisted of a Chicken Jr. sandwich, a Bacon Cheeseburger, fries, and a soft drink — basically, allowing you to construct a $3 meal. "It's important for us to be offering everyday value that's consistent and easy for the guests to understand and that doesn't require them to jump through a lot of hoops to access it," marketing executive, Ellie Doty said of the dollar menu. 

Fast Food Menu Prices reveals that Burger King's $1 fare has evolved a bit since its announcement, but the chain's wider Value Menu is at least as extensive as its main menu. As such, if you enter a Burger King without a very specific idea about what you want, you'll find that you're able to peruse the Value Menu to fill your stomach in a far more cost-effective manner than you might have expected.