Burger King has evolved into one the largest fast food chains in the world since its opening in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton in Miami, Florida. It has 11,200 stores in 65 countries all over the world. A big reason for this is the franchise model they use in which they sell separate Burger Kings to separate private owners. The company has over 37,000 employees working everyday and serves around 11.4 million customers per day. It is second only to McDonald’s in the fast food industry.
If you compared the current Burger King menu to the first one back in 1954, you would be surprised at the change. The first menu only offered burgers, fries, sodas and milkshakes. Since then they have added several variations of chicken, fish, salads and desserts. The Whopper was the big addition to the menu in 1957 and over the years has become Burger King’s signature dish. That’s why Burger King is called “Home of the Whopper”.
In the 1970s, the Magical Burger King was introduced in commercials and it popularized the growing fast food chain. Since the 70s and up to 2003 the commercials have been failing to acquire new customers for the business. In 2003, Burger King hired a new advertising agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Through their help “The King” was reborn.
First called Insta Burger King, James McLamore and David Edgerton opened their doors on December 4, 1954 in a suburb of Miami, Florida. McLamore and Edgerton both graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Hotel Administration. McLamore visited the original McDonald’s hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California owned by Dick and Mac McDonald and the idea for Burger King was born.
Five years following the 1954 opening, Burger King had grown to five regional stores in the Miami area and McLamore and Edgerton planned to grow nationally. They used the franchise system and began to sell territorial franchise licenses across the U.S. In 1967, Burger King Corporation was bought by the Pillsbury Company and the fast food chain had grown to 274 stores nationwide.
In 1969, Burger King began to seriously venture into the international market when they opened up in Canada after failures in San Juan and Puerto Rico. After the successful Canadian opening, the company began to open restaurants in Oceania, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Mexico, Madrid and the Hungry Jack’s franchise in Europe.
Burger King and other fast food chains were sold by Pillsbury to the British alcoholic beverage manufacturer and distributor Grand Metropolitan. Grand Metropolitan owned Burger King until 1997 when it merged with Guinness to form a new company Diageo. Diageo held Burger King until 2001 when it sold the struggling fast food chain to Texas Pacific Group.
The years leading up to the sale had been difficult for Burger King. Revenue and market share had declined significantly and the fast food chain Wendy’s had closed the gap between the two for the number two position behind McDonald’s. But since then they have remade their advertising and hold strong at number two with the fourth most franchises in the entire world. With the success they had last year (11 billion dollars revenue) they should continue to grow globally and make a whole lot of money!