As of September 1, Burger King restaurants in South Africa will have both halal certified and non-halal certified outlets.
According to Summit News, the “Double Spicy Hamburger” will now become just a “Double Spicy Burger,” while the “Triple Hamburger with Cheese” becomes the “Triple Burger with Cheese,” and a “Hamburger King Jr” on the children’s menu will now be just a “Kids Burger.”
The company, whose headquarters are based in Miami, Florida, said the word was being eliminated in order “to be more respectful of Muslim customers.”
The change is being made despite the fact that the “ham” in hamburger has nothing to do with pork and relates to the German city of Hamburg, where the patties were first made.
However, the company admitted that its outlets in South Africa would be losing their “halal” certification because of popular demand for some sandwiches to include bacon.
Business Insider reports – A hamburger is by definition made of minced beef and does not contain pork. The “ham” is in reference to the German city of Hamburg, where hamburger patties were supposedly first made.
Burger King knows this, South African chief operating officer Juan Klopper told Business Insider South Africa on Friday, but it still wants to avoid any possible confusion.
“It is just to be super-sensitive to perceptions, and to be super clear,” he said.
The chain has had some queries from Muslim customers in the past on the “ham” part of the name, Klopper said, by way of Majlisush Shura Al Islami, the non-profit that certifies Burger King’s remaining halaal outlets as being in compliance with Shari’ah law.
From 91.3 The Voice – A decision to add pork to Burger King’s menu has been met with upset by Muslim consumers, who have raised concerns about possible cross-contamination.
Shura Halaal Trust’s head of public affairs, Imam Shamiel Basadien said the halal certifier has been working with Burger King since 2013 and that they have been fully consulted in the process.
Imam Basadien has similarly assured Burger King customers wishing to purchase halaal products that the change in some outlets will not compromise the Islamic integrity of the halaal certified stores.
“Today, because we have around 94 restaurants, we have the ability to redirect someone to a halaal restaurant and serve both parties effectively.”
Muslim employees of Burger King who refuse to handle non-halaal products needn’t worry about their job security, according to Klopper.
“We’ve conducted a survey amongst our staff to understand their preferences. Anyone who has any issue with working at non-halaal restaurants can quite easily be accommodated to another location.”