How Burger King met Black Mamba (An African Fairytale)
Once upon a time, the Burger King team saw a Black Mamba social media post featuring a Chakalaka Burger. This sparked an idea with them to do a spicy African burger, and so the story began...
Burger King wanted to create an African burger with a pronounced spicy element, that would be authentically rooted in southern African culture. They also wanted to capitalise on the growing spicy trend that has been becoming more and more prevalent in foodie culture worldwide.
And so, they contacted CEO Claudia Castellanos, who initially thought someone was playing a prank on her!
Needless to say, she jumped at the opportunity to meet with them digitally and tell them more about the brand. However, after a rather long back-and-forth, the first iteration of this collaboration that Burger King had put forth did not pick up steam, and it was decided to put the project on ice.
Little did they know that they were yet to discover the unquenchable tenacity that fuels our Claudia…
See, they had only ever considered the Black Mamba Cayenne Chilli Sauce. Claudia was not about to let the opportunity slip away, and asked them to consider the many other interesting sauces on the Black Mamba lineup, and asked whether she could meet them in person to discuss other options.
The very next week, she jumped on a plane to Cape Town to meet the Burger King team in person. This time, they tried all the sauces with a variety of different burgers to get the full culinary experience.
"I strongly believe in building relationships with real people, instead of transactional exchange. The tasting panel, that was incredibly fun and interesting, and included Marketing Manager Ezelna Jones, and Operations Manager Stuart Crook, ended up loving our Black Mamba Peri-Peri Chilli sauce. This paved the way for the intricate process of getting listed as a Burger King vendor, which was made easier due to the fact that we already had all the necessary food safety measures in place," explains Claudia.
Once Black Mamba was listed as a vendor, there was another process to get the sauce ready to be used in the build of a BK burger.
"Happily, the Burger King team was very respectful of the fact that we wanted to keep the use of our sauce as environmentally friendly as possible, and it was decided to put the sauce on the burger, instead of providing it in pouches, which (at this time at least) are not yet biodegradable," says Claudia.
The moral of this African fairytale is that there are large corporate businesses out there that are willing to embrace sustainability and support local communities by engaging a small brand as a collaborator, while they could have engaged anyone.
“This collaboration is a game-changer for Black Mamba - not only in terms of sales, which is wonderful - but also in terms of brand awareness. It is allowing us to reach new potential customers that might not have encountered us elsewhere. This increased reach fuels our mission of inspiring foodies to share our passion for Africa, for spicy flavours, and our quest for a greener and fairer world" Claudia enthuses.
This recognition and support is vital for the growth of small, sustainable businesses like Black Mamba. And in return, Burger King now has an amazing new offering that looks good, tastes good, and does good in local communities.
Try the new Burger King Peri-Peri Crispy Chicken burger (with a King Box option including extra chicken wings), Peri-Peri Original Chicken Sandwich, or the Peri-Peri Vegan Royale (V-Label certified) - all featuring our BLACK MAMBA Peri-Peri Chilli sauce - and let us know what you think!
What a happy ending! (And to be continued…)