Fast-food chain Burger King has had some unusual items on their menu over the years; from pizza burgers to black buns flavoured with squid ink. But at one branch in Helsinki, Finland, it is not the food that is unique but the restaurant itself. It contains a working Burger King-themed sauna – only steps away from the restaurant tables – that customers can hire out.
Why did Burger King open their own sauna?
The sauna is an integral part of Finnish culture. Two million homes in Finland have their own sauna and most Finns take a sauna at least once a week. It also serves as an important social function by allowing friends, family, and even business colleagues to relax together and talk informally.
When the American fast-food chain was re-launching in Finland, they noticed that Finns often eat or have a cold drink after a sauna, and sometimes even inside the sauna. One of their Helsinki restaurants already had a sauna in the building left over by the previous tenant. They had the genius idea to makeover the sauna for their restaurant to meet the needs and interests of their Finnish customers. Guests can enjoy it as a novelty dining experience while the restaurant gets to sell more burgers and drinks.
Exploring the Burger King sauna
The sauna, designed by celebrity Finnish designer Teuvo Loman, is decorated in the bright red and blue Burger King colour scheme, a big change from the traditional wooden Finnish sauna. The chain’s logo and ‘Home of the Whopper’ slogan is prominently displayed, perhaps to prompt customers to buy more burgers. Even the towels and robes (available to buy for €60 each) have the Burger King logo on them. As an added bit of luxury, the sauna also contains a television screen and a PS4 (adapted for the extreme sauna heat).
#HLXtreme in Finnland – Werde Saunatester und beginne mit der weltweit einzigen Sauna in einem Burgerking. Und so sieht es darin aus – ziemlich stylisch. Den Rest des Wochenendes, das auf uns geht, verbringt ihr ganz idyllisch in einer Blockhütte am See. Also, bewirb dich jetzt – über den Link in unserer Bio. #Saunatester #VisitFinland #burgerkingsuomi #hlxtreme #saunatester #funland #eswirdheiß #allesauflau
A post shared by HLX.com (@hlx_com) on May 24, 2016 at 9:33am PDT
Food orders can be taken from within the sauna (thankfully Finnish people aren’t that squeamish about nudity) and eaten inside of it or in the adjacent lounge area. Even beer can be enjoyed in the sauna, it’s normally available at Finnish fast-food restaurants.
#burgerking #tuplasteakhouse #olut #burgerkingsuomi #rautatieasema #angus #parastasuomessa
A post shared by Peksi (@pleksiv) on Apr 26, 2016 at 10:45am PDT
A hit in Finland (and beyond)
While it could have easily come across as American capitalists mis-interpreting another nation’s culture, the Burger King sauna has instead been a huge hit with locals and with foreign visitors. Finnish people love fast food and kitsch value and the sauna fits both.
@iidaketola ja @rennekorppila tällä hetkellä Burger Kingin SAUNA-AVAJAISISSA. Mmmmitä ihmettä, #burgerking? #iidajarenne #nrjaamu #huomennalisää #kuudestakymppiin #hampparisauna #sauna #sisu #pikaruokasauna #suomi #bksuomi #burgerkingsuomi @burgerking_suomi
A post shared by NRJ Finland – Hit Music Only! (@nrjfi) on Nov 3, 2015 at 2:57am PST
It even won third place in the Euromonitor’s 2016 New Concepts in Foodservice Contest. Munchies reports that the Finnish hockey team celebrated in the Burger King sauna after winning the World Junior Championships, and the restaurant now displays a picture of them posing in the sauna with their trophy. The sauna has also featured on the British travel documentary series ‘Travel Man’, where actors Paul Rudd and Richard Ayoade enjoyed a steam in robes and a paper crown, even partaking in the Finnish tradition of pouring beer on the coals.
Nyt jymähtiKING! Tänään tunnetut näyttelijät Paul Rudd ja Richard Ayoaade piipahtivat burgerille ja tutustumaan Manskun BK:n maailman ainoaan pikaruokasaunaan. Stay tuned! 📽✨🍔 #burgerkingsuomi
A post shared by BURGER KING® Suomi (@burgerking_suomi) on Jun 30, 2016 at 7:30am PDT
If you want to try out the Burger King sauna for yourself, it can be booked online and will cost you €250 for three hours and seats up to ten people. It’s certainly an unusal way to entertain visiting colleagues or friends, or just a chance to say ‘I had a sauna in a Burger King’.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.