How Hungry Horse burger stirred up appetite for criticism

14 November 2014 -


Did pub chain chiefs bite off more than they could chew with 2,000-calorie monster snack?

Will Edwards

At a time when the news pages are filled with stories of an obesity crisis weighing on the NHS, one restaurant chain has chanced its luck with the launch of an £8.99 burger that has a calorie count of almost 2000.

The new burger, served up by the Hungry Horse pub chain, is made up of two beef burgers, cheese, four rashers of bacon and barbecue sauce and – incredibly – has two glazed doughnuts instead of a bun. The chain claims the dish is “So Wrong It’s Right”.

Want some more hair-raising stats? The burger contains 53g of saturated fat (daily recommended allowance is 30g for men), 8.2g of salt (again, daily recommended allowance for men is 6g) and its calorie count is just four short of a woman’s allowance for a whole day.

Mel Wakeman, senior lecturer in applied physiology at Birmingham City University said: “To me, this is simply ludicrous and irresponsible. I am no killjoy but why is this sort of food available? This burger is literally a heart attack on a plate.”

Hungry Horse spokesman Steve Jebson said: “All the nutritional information for our menu is available on our website and in our pubs, so that our customers are able to make informed decisions about what they choose to eat.”

One newspaper called a Hungry Horse pub to find out more, but was told that the staff had be instructed to say “no comment” to the media. This is, frankly, no longer a useful response to give the media – not least as it tends to be printed as your “quote”, which has the effect of making it look like you either don’t know what to say, or are hiding something.

Hungry Horse has certainly found a sure way to capture headlines – just a quick look of the spread of coverage for this story tells you that most national and regional newspapers have written up some kind of story about the belt-busting snack. Whether the firm planned and expected this kind of attention or not, it may have been surprised at how negative the stories are. As a result, this is unlikely to be the kind of press the chain will want to look back on at the end of the year.

Will Edwards is managing director of media training consultancy Bluewood Training.

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