Burger King's current test of a non-alcoholic mimosa as part of a "brunch" menu is drawing concern from child advocates and other watchdog groups.
In select markets in Florida and Massachusetts, BK is advertising the availability of brunch featuring specialty items like a ciabatta breakfast sandwich -- and a variation of the traditional brunch drink. In this case, the faux mimosa is a mixture of orange juice and Sprite, instead of the usual O.J. and champagne.
"This normalizes to children at a young age the idea that drinking is fine to do, and something we do everywhere," said Michele Simon, research and policy director for the Marin Institute, a watchdog group.
Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said she would have less of a problem if the mimosa contained actual alcohol, because at least then it would be aimed at adults.
"It's inappropriate for a family restaurant to be serving drinks that mimic the act of consuming alcoholic beverages. It serves as a message to kids that if you want to feel grown up, you should drink alcohol," she said.
Simon, from the Marin Institute, cited BK’s decision earlier this year to sell beer at a South Beach, Fla., location and wondered if the faux mimosa is another step toward the chain offering alcoholic drinks in the future.
The fast-food titan provided this statement: "Burger King is always looking for ways to offer innovative, great tasting menu items to our guests at breakfast and the BK Mimosa is no exception. The idea of mimosas and brunch often go hand-in-hand and this non-alcoholic beverage is a unique way to enhance our morning beverage offerings. The entire adult-facing brunch menu is currently in test and as such nothing is finalized. Upon completion, we will evaluate results and move forward as appropriate."
In the increasingly overheated breakfast daypart, BK's appropriation of "brunch" lends a more upscale positioning to its marketing. The ciabatta sandwich contains scrambled egg, cheese, tomato, ham and bacon with smoky tomato sauce and is priced at $2.99. The special brunch menu, which includes the $1.99 mimosa, is available daily until 10:30 a.m., the same time as other BK breakfast items. (The brunch menu also includes BK’s signature Whopper burger.)
See also: "BK's Sneaky King Dethroned"