Burger King famously serves food “your way, right away” and apparently that means serving up a Whopper and fries inside a sauna.
An outlet in Helsinki, Finland is heating up the burger world by offering in-store spa services and allowing patrons to take their burgers fresh from the flame grill and into the steam.
READ MORE: Need vacation plans? Burger King has opened a spa in Helsinki
The restaurant reportedly offers patrons robes and towels, adorned with Burger King logos, of course, and provides TV and video games in one of two saunas in the establishment.
As CNN reported, the novelty is actually an award-winning concept by Finnish designer Teuvo Loman — and that it’s not that much of a stretch in a country that has “one sauna for every three people.”
But, gimmick or not, it follows a trend in fast food chains aiming to rise above the image of being nothing more than greasy food at an affordable price.
Several chains have taken to offering alcohol in some establishments — including Taco Bell.
But the home of the fiery Doritos locos tacos supreme and the cheesy gordita crunch is following on the heels of its “fast-casual” rival Chipotle, which has long offered alcoholic beverages with it burritos and bowls.
“It looks like Taco Bell saw how Chipotle dressed on the first day of junior high and begged its mom to get it the same clothes,” NPR’s Ian Chillag wrote in September, when the first Taco Bell Cantina opened in Chicago and San Francisco.
Taco Bell said the move towards serving booze caters to the lifestyle of consumers living in “more urban settings.”
And that means beer, “pre-poured and sealed” glasses of wine, sangria and “twisted Freezers” — colourful, spiked slushy drinks — to go with “tapas style” munchies.
taco bell’s alcohol drinks are just ok :/ pic.twitter老域名购买/hGlm23tQAR
— ctubs (@ctubs) December 17, 2015
Taco Bell’s fast-and-fancier food, doesn’t stop there: the company announced Tuesday four more restaurant concepts meant to appeal to “diverse community experiences.”
But some business analysts say fast food chains should just do a better job with the food they already serve, rather than introducing trend-inspired pops and buzzes.
“Instead of putting time, effort, and money into a more upscale dining atmosphere, fast food chains should think of ways to add more flavor to their menu,” wrote Madeleine Johnson, of Zacks Investment Research. “These food items are not fine dining cuisine. No architecture or color scheme is going to diminish that crucial fact. And that’s ok.”
She pins the style stunts on something called the “fast-casual effect” — the popularity of so-called fast-casual restaurants that sell seemingly healthier items, compared to traditional fast food, but are still a few steps down from fine dining.
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Fast-casual food has found its base among millennials — those born between the early 1980s and late 1990s — and become a formidable entry into the food world.
According to the Chicago Tribune, fast-casual food racked up $39 billion in U.S. sales in 2014, but that number is estimated to rocket up to $62 billion by 2019.