In celebration of the Japanese government’s controversial work-life balance policy!…not.

Japan obviously has a work-life balance issue, which is a problem the Japanese government attempted to address in 2017 with their Premium Friday policy. In it, the government politely suggested that companies let their employees off early on the last Friday of the month, which typically falls after payday, so they can go spend their freshly earned paychecks and boost the economy. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t really work, so it was widely criticized and has often been poked fun at.

Now, for some reason, fast food chain Burger King is using the disappointing government initiative as a marketing ploy. This week and this week only, they’re releasing their first ever Premium Friday Whopper, nearly three years after the policy’s initiation. Now, knowing that Burger King is a little bit clever and sneaky at times, we had to assume there was some kind of joke here, so we had to go try this new Premium Friday Whopper, to find out what it was all about. 

The Premium Friday Whopper will be available between now and Friday, February 28, and will be on sale after 2 p.m. every day this week. It’s only available at select Burger King restaurants in Tokyo, and if supply runs out before the period is over, some people might not get a Premium Friday at all if they wait too long. Luckily all customers are limited to one Premium Friday Whopper per transaction, so no one can buy them up all at once.

All of these mysterious conditions contributed to our mounting interest, so by the time we found ourselves at a Burger King, we were cautiously excited to find out what was so special about this very limited-edition burger. We were beginning to hope it would be something pretty cool. But when we arrived and saw the picture on the menu above the register, we were a little disappointed. It looked pretty much like an ordinary whopper…

▼ Premium Friday Whopper on the left, regular Whopper on the right.

We had come all this way, however, and besides, maybe they were trying to be secretive about what it was, so we went ahead and ordered a Premium Friday Whopper meal (790 yen/US$7). Afterwards we noticed that the receipt just said “Whopper” on it, instead of “Premium Friday Whopper”. That did nothing to allay our fears.

Once our “premium” meal was handed over to us, we sat at a nearby table to take a look. The fries and drink looked pretty normal, but it wasn’t called a Premium Friday meal, so we weren’t too disappointed about that. The Premium Friday Whopper, however, came in a special box, which in itself felt pretty premium. It was a cool golden color and was pretty darn big for a fast food burger box.

From the top, it appeared to be 16 centimeters (about 6 inches) wide

▼ Smart phone for scale

And from the front, probably about 9 centimeters tall.

This box rekindled some of our dampened hopes. Did we just buy a giant fast food burger for just 790 yen? What was inside? Multiple patties? Lots of toppings? A special sauce? Perhaps this burger would transform any ordinary day into a Premium Friday after all!

Taking a deep breath and trying to suppress our rising hopes, we opened the golden burger box…




It’s just a normal Whopper!!!!

Written on a card inside of the Whopper’s box were these words:

“What day is the last Friday of the month?
It’s probably just ‘premium’ in name and is no different from every other Friday.
That’s why we released this Whopper, which is also just ‘premium’ in name and no different from every other Whopper.”

Internally screaming, we tried not to bang our heads on the table. How could you do this to us, Burger King, you beautiful, evil genius?! Not only had they raised our hopes and then dashed them, but they’d gone and rubbed salt in a three-year-old wound. It’s not cool to point out all those Premium Fridays that people have been working through like a normal day, Burger King. Not cool at all.

But wait a minute, there was more written on the card underneath that:

“Please find the coupon on the other side.”

Tentatively, expecting further betrayal, we flipped over the card, and were elated to find a coupon for a free ‘Premium Friday’ Whopper!

Okay Burger King, we forgive you. You didn’t give us a true Premium Friday, but we can at lest call this a “Better-Than-Average Friday,” right? In any case, it’s better than the government’s Premium Friday, so we were, overall, pretty pleased with our Premium Friday Whopper experience. We’ll be back to Burger King between March 2 and 8 to get our free Whopper, because we like Whoppers anyway, and besides, who doesn’t love free food?

Photos © SoraNews24
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