A Whopper with a Side of Sauna

Fast food and sauna – now there’s an interesting combination, and a Burger King restaurant in Helsinki is putting it to the test. Third-place winner of Euromonitor’s 2016 New Concepts in Foodservice Contest, the world’s first Burger King Sauna has several distinct features like…

  • Benches in Burger King red and blue.
  • A gaming screen for anyone who has the ability to take the heat – literally and virtually.
  • Showers, dressing rooms, and a lounge – amenities that aren’t distinct for a sauna but which are distinct for a Burger King.
  • Servers who drop by to take orders – soon to be replaced by digital ordering options.

Elizabeth Friend writing for Euromonitor put it, “The concept takes the idea of a unique dining experience to an extreme, offering both entertainment and functionality for Finnish consumers who see saunas as an integral part of their local culture…. In this way, Burger King’s in-store sauna offers a powerful example of localization, demonstrating an understanding of local preferences while also offering customers the novelty experience of a sauna alongside their Whopper and Fries.”

What an interesting concept: saunas don’t need to stay confined in gym locker rooms or private homes anymore. (Although their presence there is much appreciated.) Untethered from conventional placement surroundings, saunas could potentially end up anywhere. Imagine for a moment…

A sauna at the office. You’re neck-deep in work, glued to your phone and your computer screen, but sometime during the midafternoon you manage to set all that aside for a quick visit to the office sauna in order to disengage and recharge, emerging with renewed vim, vigor, and vitality.

A sauna at the airport. Make it a treat to arrive at the airport early, and long layovers wouldn’t be a drag anymore either. Instead of arriving at your final destination feeling cramped and frayed, you’ll arrive feeling fresh and energized.

A sauna along the interstate. This concept would be similar to an airport sauna – a mid-travel oasis of calm and relaxation. A rest stop sauna would be an opportunity to not only stretch your legs but also apply some heat therapy to your travel-weary muscles. (Higher-than-average standards of rest stop cleanliness would be a must.)

A sauna in the park. Shakespeare is there; why not a sauna? A sauna visit seems like a great way to make a Saturday afternoon outing even more special. Throw the Frisbee, have a picnic, leave some sweat behind on a cedar bench – sounds great!

In short, everyone could have access to a sauna, whether it serves as bookends to a long day or provides a moment of relaxation snatched from between the last and the next item on your to-do list. You may subscribe to the idea that saunas belong at the cottage or in the locker room, and that’s fine, but isn’t it at least a little enjoyable to consider the most unlikely places that could benefit from having a sauna? Which places would you like to see a sauna appear?

July 11, 2016 •