Burger King is an American multinational chain of hamburger fast food restaurants.
It is the second largest hamburger chain the the United States, after McDonald’s.
The predecessor to what is now the international fast food restaurant chain Burger King was founded in on July 23, 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, as Insta-Burger King.
After visiting the McDonald brothers’ original store location in San Bernardino, California, the founders and owners (Keith J. Kramer and his wife’s uncle Matthew Burns), who had purchased the rights to two pieces of equipment called “Insta-machines”, opened their first restaurants.
Their production model was based on one of the machines they had acquired, an oven called the “Insta-Broiler”.
The Burger King mascot was created in 1955. The character would become a staple of its advertising over the next 60 years.
In 1957, the “Whopper” became the first major addition to the menu, and it has become Burger King’s signature product since. It was created in by James McLamore and originally sold for 37 cents. McLamore created the burger after he noticed that a rival restaurant was having success selling a larger burger. Believing that the success of the rival product was its size, he devised the Whopper. The name was chosen because he felt that it conveyed “imagery of something big”.
After the company faltered in 1959, it was purchased by its Miami, Florida, franchisees, James McLamore and David R. Edgerton. They initiated a corporate restructuring of the chain, first renaming the company Burger King.
By 1961, the Burger King and the whopper were already known in the United States of America and most people had already tasted the burgers and the number of customers had also grown.
James McLamore and David R. Edgerton ran the company as an independent entity for eight years, eventually expanding to over 250 locations in the United States, when they sold it to the Pillsbury Company in 1967.
Pillsbury’s management made several attempts at reorganization or restructuring of the restaurant chain inthe late 1970s and early 1980s.
The 1990s led off with Grand Met taking Burger King’s soft drink contract to Coca-Cola from Pepsi. Traditionally Burger King had sold soft drinks from the Coca-Cola Company in the United States, but in 1983, PepsiCo was able to garner the US$444 million beverage supplier contract from its rival.
Pillsbury was itself acquired by the British company Grand Metropolitan (Grand Met) PLC in 1989.
Grand Met became Diageo PLC after its merger with the Irish brewer Guinness PLC in 1997.
Diageo sold Burger King in 2002 to a consortium of private equity financiers, namely the Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.
In 2003, Burger King hired the Miami-based advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B), which completely reorganized its advertising with a series of new campaigns centered on a redesigned Burger King character nicknamed “The King”, accompanied by a new online presence. While highly successful, some of CP+B’s commercials were derided for perceived sexism or cultural insensitivity.
In 2010 3G Capital, an investment group controlled by the Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann, took over the company in a leveraged buyout.
By 2012, Burger King shares were being sold to the public again, but 3G retained a controlling interest.
Burger King Worldwide merged with the Canadian doughnut and fast-food chain Tim Hortons in 2014, and a new parent company called Restaurant Brands International was formed. In what some critics saw as a tax-avoiding “corporate inversion” move, Restaurant Brands International was headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
At the end of 2014, Burger King ranked fourth among US food chains in terms of US sales, behind McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway. Burger King now has over 12,000 stores worldwide.
With Burger King and Tim Hortons merged 2014, Restaurant Brands was created in December of that year. In 2018, Restaurant Brands purchased Popeyes for $1.8 billion. The acquisition which further expanded the company’s menu offerings beyond burgers and donuts and included fried chicken. Over the last several years, Restaurant Brands’ goal has been to expand into multiple stable fast-food chains.
As of 2018, Burger King has reclaimed the second spot in the burger wars with $9.6 billion in US sales when compared to $9.3 billion in sales for Wendy’s for the previous year. McDonald’s is still the leader with $37.6 billion in U.S. sales.
Burger King’s stock, which trades under Restaurant Brands, has gone from $35 in 2014 to $55 as of 2018 or 57%.
As of 2019, Burger King reported it had 17,796 outlets in 100 countries. Of these, nearly half are located in the United States, and 99.7% are privately owned and operated, with its new owners moving to an almost entirely franchised model in 2013.