At a time where retailers’ ethics are being put under increasing scrutiny, Naeem Arif, Vice Chair of the Midlands Retail Forum speaks about a leading global brand which is listening to its customers.
Fast food restaurants are regularly criticised for their lack of public interest, mainly in terms of creating unhealthy eating habits for young people especially. This week, Burger King has taken a positive step to show it is listening to taking these concerns seriously by having a ‘Meltdown on Plastics’. Kids’ meals are often accompanied with toys and if you collaborate with the right toy franchise, then it can be a deciding factor in your favour. With more than 500 outlets in the UK, the move is expected is save in excess of 300 tonnes of plastic a year.
A significant factor in this decision is a petition signed by over 500,000 people that was organised by the McEwan sisters, aged 7 and 9. They called on companies to ‘think about the environment’ because ‘children only play with the toys they give us for a few minutes before they get thrown away and harm animals and pollute the sea’.
Being seen to listen to your customers is an important thing for businesses to do, especially if they proclaim to value their customers. If you can win over a young customer, then you are more likely to retain them for a long period of time. It can also be a deciding factor for some people when choosing between different fast food places. This could be the start of a larger piece of work as there is a lot more plastic being used in such businesses, including plastic trays.
Businesses have the opportunity to do good for society or the environment and in doing so win over hearts and minds. Sutton Coldfield Chamber of Commerce have been championing an ‘Eco Pledge’ and calling on businesses to make changes such as reducing their use of plastics. President Kale Hale is excited by the responses received already; ‘We hope this initiative will encourage businesses to make one change to their operations in order to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly’.
Burger King’s main rivals; McDonalds will continue to give away plastic toys, but offer you the chance to take fruit instead of the toy, if you so chose. They recently moved away from using plastic straws and may consider their position on this matter, depending on the perceived success or failure of this move.