It was either in the 1980s or in the '90s that McDonald's launched a brilliant advertising campaign.

I can still remember the refrain that their advertising blitz blasted into our brains to promote the Big Mac: “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickle, onion on a sesame seed bun."

Imagine: I still remember this jingle thirty plus years later.

Burger King then launched their own highly successful advertising campaign, entitled “Have it your way."

Figuring that they had to distinguish themselves from their rival, the advertising team at Burger King must have figured that they could allow their customers to special order their burgers.

In other words, if you don't want onions or lettuce, tell them.

Burger King would let you "Have it your way."

Suddenly everyone in America would break out in the refrain: “Have it your way; have it your way. Have it your way, at Burger King."

This jingle has popped into my mind in recent days as I have learned that there is community dialogue relating to a proposal that the Gateway Shopping Center at Howard and Clark add a Burger King in a new out lot at the center.

Apparently, people have expressed concerns about this proposal.

An email circulated to people in the neighborhood by an organization called Network 2424 has stated that Neighbors objections center around: (1) increased traffic and pedestrian problems in an already congested area and (2) the quality of the business.

The email directs people to an on-line petition that states: The drive-thru would disrupt traffic, add to congestion at an already busy intersection, reduce safety of bicycles and pedestrians.


If concerns were truly about safety, then the petition should simply request that the Gateway Center board up the existing vacant storefronts. Traffic studies completed years ago concluded that the traffic flow at this intersection could absorb a shopping center of this size.

I prefer to focus on point number 2 in the Network 2424 email: the quality of the business itself.

Sure – if given a choice I would prefer another type of restaurant – preferably a family owned non franchise that focuses on sustainability and meticulously prepared holistic meals (akin to Pillars, on Pratt and Sheridan), or, if a franchise, something like a Panera's Bread. Alternatively, I would love another ethnic restaurant that offers the same level of warmth and interest as the Ethiopian Diamond II (one of my favorite Rogers Park restaurants), which would be adjacent to the new BK.

Sure: if I “had it my way" that is what I would choose.

Yet, when it comes to shopping center development, the adage of “Have it your way" simply ought not apply. If the Gateway Center owners and the Burger King folks make a business decision based on their market research and board room discussions that a Burger King would succeed at this location, then they ought to be able to invest their funds and proceed with their idea.

Only after they open will market forces decide if they decided correctly.

In this case, deciding whether or not to support this business after it opens ought to be our society's way of allowing us to “have it our way."