Generally I am an advocate for indulgence. In fact, I’ve argued that fast food and restaurants should stop pretending to be healthy and just be honest about the fact that they are an unhealthy indulgence. Why not? Once in a while it is okay to treat yourself to that type of indulgence – just don’t let it be a daily occurrence.
One restaurant chain has taken this concept of indulgence and embraced it in a way that takes it to an extreme. I’m talking about the Heart Attack Grill. They have become infamous for their politically incorrect medically-themed marketing where their leader (Dr. Jon) poses as a doctor and the waitresses dress up in sassy nurse costumes. In keeping with the medical theme, their menu includes:
- Double Bypass Burger
- Triple Bypass Burger
- Quadruple Bypass Burger
- Flatliner Fries
And then there’s their slogan: “Taste worth dying for.” On their website, they (distastefully) claim to have been treating Anorexia since 2005. This is a restaurant where people over 350 lbs eat for free. Not only does Heart Attack Grill promote indulgence, they celebrate obesity. And it seems to have been great for business. The restaurant has been featured on a long list of national television shows including Fox News, Conan O’Brien, Rachel Ray, CBS Sunday Morning, ABC News and more.
Heart Attack Grill was back in the news last week when their 575 pound spoke model, Blair River, died of pneumonia. He was only 29 years old. Below are a couple of the commercials Blair starred in for Heart Attack Grill:
Here’s a segment from Dateline:
There’s a part of me that applauds the honesty of Heart Attack Grill’s approach, while the sensible part of me recognizes that they are the standard bearer for unhealthy eating. This is promoting gluttony rather than mere indulgence. It celebrates the over-consumption of unhealthy food while admitting that this behavior could have a fatal outcome. For me, that goes too far. Although I want to like Heart Attack Grill because it flies in the face of political correctness, I still find it distasteful. Just don’t expect to find me eating quiche anytime in the near future! To check out the recent story on ABC News, go to http://tinyurl.com/46zewqg.
Post by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer