Steers burger

Steers and the R10 burger flop

Service delivery protests rocked SA this Wednesday, but it had nothing to do with housing, electricity or fresh water. Instead, the humble burger was at the heart of the outrage: not enough of them to feed hordes of hungry take-away junkies.

The result? No burning tyres, but burnt bridges between Steers fast food outlets and their fans. It all began as a standard “Wacky Wednesday” promotion around the country: Rib burgers for R10 each.

But such was the mass walk-in-and- grab-it that most stores had run out of stock by mid-morning, leaving stomachs and Twitter accounts grumbling.

A staffer at the Rondebosch branch could only tiredly shake his head when asked about Wednesday’s service.

Venu Kistasami tweeted: “The people with the saddest faces have to be the Steers staff after today’s R10 rib/ rave burger fiasco!”

Steers managing executive, Val Bourdos, said the group hadn’t put a limit on the number of burgers people could order and that’s why supplies were already dwindling before the lunchtime crowds hit the streets.

Not even the back-up plan of a R10 Rave Burger could sate the masses.

But people weren’t giving up, and were still queuing into the late evening.

Steers in Rosmead shut at 2.30pm as it struggled to cope. An onlooker said there was a lot of “unpleasantness” from customers who had been queuing and ultimately denied their “basic human right” to a rib burger.

By noon Steers had issued a grovelling apology: “We never intended to mislead anyone – and have had to face some serious lessons this morning… It’s just been kinda crazy.”

Chris Moerdyk, an independent marketing analyst, said the fiasco “highlighted the immense power of social media which allows consumers to react immediately, and even worse, while they are still angry”.

“… From a marketing point of view this promotion was ill-conceived and was quite clearly begging disaster”, but Steers’ quick apology on Facebook and Twitter was “the right thing to do”.