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Burger King has been told it must defend itself in court against claims its Whoppers are smaller than they look on in-store menu boards.
A US judge has rejected the fast food chain’s bid to dismiss a case accusing it of misleading reasonable customers, amounting to a breach of contract.
Customers in a proposed class action case say the adverts give the impression the company’s trademark snack’s ingredients “overflow over the bun”, making it appear the burgers are 35% larger and contain more than double the meat actually served.
Burger King responded that its burgers didn’t have to look “exactly like the picture,” but US District Judge Roy Altman said it was up to jurors to “tell us what reasonable people think”.
A Burger King spokesperson said: “The plaintiffs’ claims are false.
“The flame-grilled beef patties portrayed in our advertising are the same patties used in the millions of Whopper sandwiches we serve to guests nationwide.”
The case, brought by Anthony Russo, a lawyer in South Florida, says Burger King began inflating the size of its burgers in images around September 2017.
Before that, the case says, Burger King “more fairly” advertised its food products.
The case quotes multiple YouTube food critics and Twitter users who complained about their orders.
It’s not the first time Burger King has been accused of inflating food in its ads.
In 2011, the UK’s advertising watchdog upheld complaints that its burgers had height and thickness “considerably less” than what was advertised.
The suit, which aims to seek class action, meaning it has one or more plaintiff, demands monetary damages and a court order requiring Burger King to end what it says are its deceptive practices.
Judge Altman dismissed claims that Burger King’s TV and online advertising also misled customers.
McDonald’s and Wendy’s are defending against a similar lawsuit in New York and a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in that case used Judge Altman’s opinion, published on Friday, to justify letting that case continue.
Taco Bell, a unit of Yum Brands, was sued last month for selling Crunchwraps and Mexican pizzas that allegedly contain only half as much filling as advertised, in cases demanding $5 million (£4m) each in damages.