Toronto restaurant owner fires back at people comparing prices to McDonald's
Inflation is everywhere these days, but local restaurant prices have always been a bit higher than your average fast food joint. Now, one Toronto restaurant owner is actually finding himself defending his prices on social media platforms.
Burgers n' Fries Forever (BFF) owner Jamil Bhuya is primarily responding to comments about his pricing on TikTok, where you can make videos that directly respond to certain comments.
In one post on both TikTok and Instagram, Bhuya defends the price of his fries in response to someone tallying up the cost of McDonald's items with a video showing the weight of portions of fries from both restaurants.
"Our fries cost about 85 cents more," overlaid text reads, "just going to let that sink in."
The McDonald's fries weigh in at about 174 grams, whereas the BFF fries are a whopping 267 grams. Priced at $4.49, they are indeed less than a dollar more than the McD's fries.
Another video responding to the comment that four burgers "usually" cost $6 to $7 says "Live footage of bro calculating with imaginary prices."
Two videos have been made in response to a comment saying, "That's $15 per burger and drink and two forkfuls of fries, yeah ok good luck," one showing two actual forkfuls of fries (and how there's a lot left over) and another saying "Quality over quantity, also your math sucks."
It all started, unexpectedly, with Ramadan: the certified halal restaurant came out with a special for the occasion of two smash burgers, two chicken burgers, one birria cheese fries, one poutine and four coke cans priced at $70.
"Four days into the launch, we started receiving feedback on TikTok that our customers felt the special was overpriced," Bhuya tells blogTO.
They actually even initially brought the price down to $60, and started telling people about the revised price, being the type of brand that wants to be transparent and respond to online comments directly.
That's when the McDonald's comparisons started, and most of them were coming from people who don't even live in Ontario where BFF is based.
"A majority of the comments were coming from the US since our videos are trending on TikTok. Food pricing in the States is considerably cheaper than Canada due to the cost of food being lower than our country, lower salaries, and due to the foreign exchange rates," says Bhuya.
"It's quite harmful and toxic for small businesses to be compared to these massive multinational corporations that have massive purchasing power, economies of scale, and in some cases public and corporate funding. We want to educate consumers that it's not sustainable for us to compete with those massive brands based on price."
Of course, inflation, supply chain issues and rising gas prices have also affected the cost of food for every single restaurant and grocery store.
Bhuya's first job at 15 was actually at McDonald's and even partially inspired him to create BFF, but because of that he also has first hand knowledge of the difference between the food quality at his restaurant and the Golden Arches.
At BFF, fries go through a five-step process, beef is AAA, chicken burgers are made with six-ounce thighs, sauces are made in house and they do special limited time items every two months. Can McDonald's say all that?
"While we were busy creating videos telling our side of the story, our customers were in the comments section, rooting for and supporting us," says Bhuya.
"We saw many people asking us to open shops in Mississauga, Calgary, Montreal, Dubai, Vancouver, and even Cali and NY. And as for our video posts, we are your BFF, so we will keep it 100 per cent real."
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