Burger King Reportedly Paid $65,000 For ‘Tone Deaf’ Ad Promoting $25,000 Scholarships

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Burger King Reportedly Paid $65,000 For 'Tone Deaf' Ad Promoting $25,000 Scholarshipsthetomska/BurgerKingUK/Twitter

Burger King reportedly paid $65,000 for their ‘tone deaf’ ad promoting $25,000 scholarships for women in the restaurant industry.

The fast food chain had been attempting to promote its brand new culinary scholarship programme to combat gender inequality in the field, but ended up being slammed for the way it went about it.


On International Women’s Day (IWD), the official UK Burger King Twitter account tweeted the words, ‘Women belong in the kitchen’, followed by another tweet which clarified, ‘If they want to, of course’. The fast food chain also took out a full page ad in the New York Times.

Subsequent tweets showed that Burger King was in fact trying to promote its ‘mission to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry’ through a new scholarship programme, and hadn’t intended to be deliberately sexist.

Many found the ‘clickbait’ wording and reliance on sexist tropes to be a poor way of promoting this initiative, particularly on a day intended to celebrate women’s achievements.


Burger King initially appeared to double down in its replies, defending their ad as having helped draw ‘attention to a huge lack of female representation in our industry’.

The company has since apologised in two follow-up tweets, admitting that their approach had been wrong:

We hear you. We got our initial tweet wrong and we’re sorry. 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.

We decided to delete the original tweet after our apology. It was brought to our attention that there were abusive comments in the thread and we don’t want to leave the space open for that.


As reported by The Washington Post, Burger King’s campaign included a full-page ad from its US based nonprofit arm, the Burger King Foundation, in the print edition of The New York Times. ‘

This print ad saw the words ‘Women belong in the kitchen’ bolded and written in a large font that took up a fair bit of the above-the-fold space of the ad.

The ad continued:

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.

But can you guess who’s leading those kitchens these days? Exactly. Only 24% of chef positions in America are occupied by women. Want to talk head chefs? The number drops to fewer than 7%.

Burger KingBurger King

As per The Washington Post, a display of this sort of size at the typical standby rate would cost an estimated $65,000, although the price can vary. The New York Times has reportedly declined to disclose how much the ad cost.

The Burger King Foundation website gives details of the H.E.R. (Helping Equalize Restaurants) Scholarship, stating: ‘At least two (2) H.E.R. Scholarship awards of $25,000 granted to the most qualified employees from the pool of eligible and submitted applicants.’

It further explained: ‘Recipients will be chosen from the Burger King℠ Scholars pool of both Burger King® Employee-Based Track and employees pursuing an enrichment program applicants.’


The site states recipients of the scholarship must be:

• Citizens of the United States
• Be an employee* of Burger King Corporation or a participating Burger King® franchisee (Franchisees)
• Plan to enroll** for the 2022-23 academic year at an accredited two or four-year culinary program or university in the United States.
•  Students who demonstrate substantial work experience and financial need
•  A high school graduate or have a GED
* Employees must be active on Designated Employer’s payroll for at least 6 months as of the application deadline date and employed at the time awards are first announced.

** Employees may be enrolled part-time or full-time

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: Viral, Burger King


Burger King/Twitter and 1 other
  1. Burger King/Twitter


  2. The Washington Post

    Burger King sparks uproar with ‘Women belong in the kitchen’ tweet, ad on International Women’s Day

Julia Banim
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