Burger King (Mount Lavinia).

Burger King has opened three branches in Colombo – in Colpetty (near Renuka hotel), Rajagiriya (near the KFC) and Mount Lavinia (near Family Super).

The Mount Lavinia Burger King is open now. It’s a good Burger King franchise and already popular. It’s still fast food and not good to have that often, but we think the taste is better than McDonald’s. Softlogic seems to have hired and is training some competent staff and the facilities and locations are of good quality. Looks like Burger King is here to staypa, so make a pilgrimage while it’s still exciting and new.

The Food

The Whopper (meal for Rs. 590)

The Sri Lankan Burger King has the basic BK menu. No bacon, so we presume the place is halal, though that really is a bit of a loss. The only thing we can’t place is the BBQ Turkey Strips Burger (No. 3, Rs. 570 for the meal), haven’t seen that anywhere. We’ll actually go ahead and list the main menu here, it’s short. Prices are all for the meals, including fries and Pepsi.

  1. Whopper (Rs. 590)
  2. Whopper Jr. (Rs. 490)
  3. BBQ Turkey Strips Burger (Rs. 570)
  4. Grilled Chicken Burger (Rs. 590)
  5. Chicken Royale (Rs. 590)
  6. Veggie Burger (Rs. 520)
  7. Fish N Chips (Rs. 520)

They also have kids meals ranging from Rs. 330 (Hamburger) to Rs. 400 (Chicken Nuggets). Those include a Pepsi and ice cream but no fries, which we’re thinking kids would want.

They also have onion rings (Rs. 180 to 420), chicken nuggets (Rs. 360 for six or 460 for nine) and desserts like a Hershey’s Sundae Pie for Rs. 390. Basically you’re looking at Rs. 500-600 per person.

But how does it taste? We tried the Whopper, Jr. Whopper and an apple pie (Rs. 200) for dessert. The Whopper – the hallmark of Burger King – was pretty good. The meat was flame grilled if not huge and the burger was full of condiments and veg, something McDonalds skimps on. This burger has good hunks of tomato, lettuce, generous pickle and dollops of ketchup and mayo. It’s a satisfying bite.

The fries are pretty good too, big fat ones. McDonalds has pretty great fries but these are competitive and somehow feel more connected to their potato roots. Each meal comes with a drink, which is kinda small. Also, take extra napkins. All the condiments means that the meal gets messy.

As for the apple pie, it’s fine but not really worth Rs. 200, IMHO.

The Whopper is a the benchmark for a Burger King and it passes. If you’re trying to save money and get a junior, not that it’s quite small, basically half the size.

Service

Making a burger

It’s training time as of this writing so there were like 40 staff in the store when we visited. They’re training everyone from all three branches in Mount for now. Firstly, the fact that they’re having training is great, and it looks structured. A manager (Namal) saw me taking photos outside and was nice enough to come and chat about the place. The people greeting are smart, the cashiers smile and the guys doing prep treat it like a F1 refueling. This is just the first week, but it’s a good start.

I should note that they had software issues while I was there and the order was not super fast, but people are paying attention and they’re actively fixing and improving stuff, which is what matter in the end. One guy actually turned over the ketchup packets on my tray so they were facing up, a detail, but fast food does come down to details.

So far this looks like a successful franchising venture, which is harder than you’d think.

Location

The Mount Burger King is in a good location just before the Hotel Road turn-off across from the Family Super. That said, Mount is far and it’s good that they have other locations as well. The building itself is nice and has parking for about 8 cars, which may not actually be enough. There’s a drive-thru round back where it looks like you could park more, though it’s not currently operational. There’s outdoor seating in front and back and plenty of seating inside.

They’ve done the location up well.

Conclusion

To quote the Notorious BIG, it looks like Softlogic is representing BK to the fullest. The Whopper tastes authentic, the service is competent and the location is well equipped and smart. The restaurant doesn’t go beyond the usual Burger King flavor, but it’s not supposed to. It’s very new, but we’d say that this franchise hits the mark.

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