Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s Old Colonial burger is being called out as racist

It’s advertised as ‘too tasty to miss out on’

National chain Gourmet Burger Kitchen has really wound up Londoners after an advertisement for its £11.45 burger called the “Old Colonial” was spotted outside its Brunswick Centre branch. The speciality burger which contains steak, Red Leicester cheese, bacon, pickles, Bangkok slaw and beef ketchup, has been called out for “casual commodification of colonialism”.

Second year Economics student Ella Baggaley Smith who posted the picture on the Race Matters Facebook page, told The Tab: “Given that the repercussions of Britain’s colonial legacy are felt across the world to this day, it seems entirely inappropriate that GBK should make it a theme for one of its burgers.

“They are representing centuries of racism and violence as if it were just a handy theme for their restaurant, whitewashing over heinous crimes. I think at best, GBK are being culturally unaware about the offence this advert could cause. Otherwise, they are celebrating and, worse, capitalising on a period whose overwhelmingly negative history goes far beyond a crappy burger.”

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Another Facebook user replied to the post saying “This is disgusting, and especially upsetting considering this was situated in my old neighbourhood.”

Ella also tweeted the company but did not receive a reply, despite the account being active in use afterwards. She continued, “Obviously as a white woman, this kind of thing barely affects me, but there will be people walking past it who might find it horribly insulting, or worse triggering.”

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Phoebe Ciocan, a student of Caribbean descent is also angered by the burger’s name. She told The Tab, “If I’m honest, when I first looked at it I didn’t really think anything of it because there are so many things that are advertised, or said that are far more offensive and they tend to get ignored.

“But, actually it’s not appropriate at all because it could be interpreted as them endorsing slavery. It’s quite insensitive and ignorant to name something that it’s associated with centuries of exploitation, and severe racism.”

We contacted GBK but no one was available for comment.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen have also come under fire for insulting vegetarians in their latest tube ads. Signs saying “vegetarians – the resistance is futile” haven’t been received well by people who don’t eat meat, who have been covering them up and boycotting the restaurant chain. Other signs include a picture of a cow with the caption “they eat grass so you don’t have to” and “you’ll always remember when you gave up being vegetarian”.

GBK said: “Our new adverts have purely light-hearted intentions and were not meant to cause any offence. We’ve been serving beef as a core part of our menu for the last 15 years and, whilst we’re carnivores at heart, we have an extensive range of vegetarian options available. We value our vegetarian customers and their views, and have therefore made the decision to change some of our ads.”

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