Burger King in South Africa is dropping the word “ham” from its menu, after adding bacon at some of its stores, in order to be respectful of Muslim customers.
On Friday the chain confirmed it has changed the names of three of its products. What was previously known as a “Double Spicy Hamburger” will now just be a “Double Spicy Burger”; the “Triple Hamburger with Cheese” becomes the “Triple Burger with Cheese”, and a “Hamburger King Jr” on the kids menu will now be just a “Kids Burger”.
The names are being changed “to be more respectful of” its halal client base, the chain said in a statement.
The name changes will apply across all Burger Kings in SA, including those that now serve bacon.
The word “ham” has featured on the Burger King menu since the chain opened its first store in South Africa in 2013. Up to September, all of its stores were fully halal.
A hamburger is by definition made of minced beef and does not contain pork. The “ham” is in reference to the German city of Hamburg, where hamburger patties were supposedly first made.
Burger King knows this, South African chief operating officer Juan Klopper told Business Insider South Africa on Friday, but it still wants to avoid any possible confusion.
“It is just to be super-sensitive to perceptions, and to be super clear,” he said.
The chain has had some queries from Muslim customers in the past on the “ham” part of the name, Klopper said, by way of Majlisush Shura Al Islami, the non-profit that certifies Burger King’s remaining halaal outlets as being in compliance with Shari’ah law.
So, while the chain was making changes, it decided to drop the word.
As of this month, 44 Burger Kings in South Africa are no longer halal certified after the chain decided to introduce the line of bacon items that are popular for the brand in many other parts of the world.
The chain has also promised to add vegan and vegetarian items to its menu “in the very near future”.
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