Burger King Receives Backlash After Tone Deaf Tweet on International Women’s Day

A poorly executed tweet had Burger King‘s social media team eating its words on International Women’s Day.

“Women belong in the kitchen,” the U.K. division of the fast-food chain tweeted.

The post was meant to promote a cooking scholarship for female employees but instead had the company taking a whole lot of heat. Follow-up tweets attempted to contextualize the initial post, yet Twitter users weren’t having it.

The company’s social media team spent the day responding to comments from angry users before ultimately removing the post altogether.

The tweet was undoubtedly tone-deaf, despite it being well-meaning. The company stated its goal was to highlight the disproportionate amount of professional female chefs working professionally. Burger King soon issued an apology to those who were offended by the tweet.

We hear you. We got our initial tweet wrong, and we’re sorry,” @BurgerKingUK tweeted. “Our aim was to draw attention to the fact that only 20% of professional chefs in UK kitchens are women and to help change that by awarding culinary scholarships. We will do better next time.”

Among those who did better were advertising executives in the United States, who ran the same ad in a different context in the New York Times. The full-page ad featured the same headline but offered more immediate context for readers.

“Fine dining kitchens, food truck kitchens, award-winning kitchens, casual dining kitchens, ghost kitchens, Burger King kitchens. If there’s a professional kitchen, women belong there,” the ad read. 

The motivation behind the tweet was to draw attention to The Burger King Foundation’s H.E.R. (Helping Equalize Restaurants) Scholarship that grants two female employees $25,000 each to use toward culinary education.

Fer Machado, the global chief marketing officer at Restaurant Brand International, said it is a worthy program that is, unfortunately, becoming overshadowed by controversy. 

“It’s a real shame that it’s getting lost on the U.K. conversation,” said Machado. “In the end, the intention behind what we are doing here is really good. And the whole thing is more than just an ‘ad’ or a ‘tweet.’ But we are discussing here.”

Did you see the original tweet before it was removed? How do you think it could’ve been better executed? Tell us what you would’ve done differently to get the message across!