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The Tesla CEO used the reference to explain canceled orders for the company's new more-affordable electric vehicle.

Mike Pomranz
August 04, 2017

It’s one of the most innovative products from one of the most innovative companies in the world: Tesla’s new Model 3 is intended to be the brand’s affordable electric car for the masses (or at least that subsection of the masses who have the finances to pay at least $35,000 for a car). And according to Elon Musk, the forward-thinking CEO of the company, selling high-tech automobiles is no different than slinging… uh… hamburgers?

One of the biggest headlines of the new Model 3 release wasn’t that the first 30 vehicles that were officially handed over on July 28, but was how many potential customers have actually canceled their orders for the new car: Tesla has seen about 63,000 cancellations in the past year. Granted, the company said it still has 455,000 orders to fill, but 63,000 cars isn’t something to shake a stick at.

However, Musk, always a master of putting a positive spin on things, had a simple explanation for why so many cancellations aren’t necessarily a bad thing – a hamburger theory. “I think this is inconsequential because with a small amount of effort we could easily drive the Model 3 reservation number to something much higher, but there’s no point,” Musk said according to Consumerist. “It’s like if you’re a restaurant and you’re serving hamburgers and there’s an hour and a half wait for the hamburger, do you really want to encourage more people to come order hamburgers? It doesn’t make sense.”

As odd as comparing a technologically-advanced car to the common burger might seem, Musk’s logic makes sense. Right now, if you put down a deposit to reserve a Model 3, your car isn’t anticipated to arrive until the end of next year, according to Business Insider. Anyone who’s ever waited 90 minutes for a meal knows that such a long wait time can be annoying even if you’ve been given ample warning of the situation. You just grow hungrier and impatient. Now imagine if you were waiting about 16 months for that hamburger? You’d probably wish you’d gone for a hot dog instead.