Burger King, the second-largest burger chain in the world, has been struggling to keep up with its competitors in recent years.
The company has faced declining sales, customer dissatisfaction, and backlash over some of its controversial marketing campaigns.
As a result, Burger King has announced that it will close hundreds of its restaurants in the US and other markets by the end of 2023.
Here are some of the reasons why Burger King is closing down and what it means for its customers and employees.
Why is Burger King dying out?
Burger King has been losing market share to other fast-food chains, especially McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A. According to Restaurant Business, Burger King’s same-store sales in the US grew by only 5% in 2021, compared to 8.7% for McDonald’s and 23% for Chick-fil-A.
Burger King has also failed to attract new customers with its menu innovations, such as the plant-based Impossible Whopper and the crispy chicken sandwich Ch’King.
Some of these products have been criticized for being too complex, too expensive, or too similar to other offerings.
Another reason why Burger King is dying out is its poor reputation among consumers. Burger King has been accused of having low-quality food, unhygienic restaurants, slow service, and outdated design.
The company has also faced backlash for some of its provocative and insensitive advertising campaigns, such as the one that used the slogan “Women belong in the kitchen” on International Women’s Day or one that mocked the religious sentiments of Catholics during Holy Week6.
These incidents have damaged Burger King’s brand image and alienated some of its potential customers.
Who owns Burger King now?
Burger King is currently owned by a Canadian multinational fast-food holding company called Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI).
The company was formed in 2014 when Burger King merged with Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons, and RBI has since acquired another fast-food chain, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen7.
RBI is controlled by a Brazilian investment firm called 3G Capital, which also owns a stake in Kraft Heinz and Anheuser-Busch InBev8.
RBI’s chairman is Alexandre Behring, and its CEO is Joshua Kobza.
Did Burger King retire the king?
Burger King has used various versions of a king character as its mascot since the 1950s.
The most recent one, known as “The King”, was a caricatured rendition of a red-bearded Tudor-era king who appeared in many commercials and online campaigns from 2003 to 2011.
The King was created by Miami-based advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B), which aimed to reinvigorate Burger King’s brand with a series of quirky and edgy ads.
However, the King also received criticism for being creepy, disturbing, or inappropriate for children11.
In 2010, Burger King was acquired by 3G Capital, which decided to terminate its relationship with CP+B and adopt a more food-centric marketing approach.
The company announced in 2011 that it would retire the King character and focus on promoting its products and value proposition instead.
However, the King made a comeback in 2015 with a paid appearance as a member of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s entourage before a boxing match.
Since then, the King has appeared sporadically in some commercials and social media posts for Burger King.
Why are McDonald’s and Burger King so close together?
One might wonder why McDonald’s and Burger King often locate their restaurants near each other, instead of spreading out to avoid direct competition.
The answer lies in game theory, which is a branch of mathematics that studies strategic decision-making.
According to game theory, both McDonald’s and Burger King have an incentive to choose the most valuable locations for their restaurants, even if it means sharing the market with their rival.
This is because choosing a less valuable location would result in lower profits and market share than choosing a more valuable location.
Why is Burger King being boycotted?
Burger King has faced several boycotts from different groups of customers over the years, for various reasons. Some of the most recent ones are:
In April 2021, Burger King faced a boycott from some Catholics in Spain, who were offended by its Holy Week-themed ad campaign that used the words of Jesus from the Last Supper to promote its vegetarian burger.
The campaign was seen as sacrilegious and disrespectful to the religious sentiments of millions of people.
In March 2021, Burger King faced a boycott from some feminists and allies, who were outraged by its sexist tweet that said “Women belong in the kitchen” on International Women’s Day.
The tweet was intended to draw attention to its scholarship program for female chefs, but it backfired and sparked a backlash on social media. Burger King later apologized and deleted the tweet.
In June 2020, Burger King faced a boycott from some conservatives and supporters of President Donald Trump, who were angered by its endorsement of a tweet that mocked Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The tweet said “You just got CATTED” and showed a picture of an empty stadium. Burger King replied with “love that personality” and a cow emoji, implying that it supported the animal rights group that posted the tweet.
What did Burger King do wrong?
Burger King has made several mistakes in its business strategy and marketing tactics that have contributed to its decline and controversy. Some of these are:
Failing to innovate and differentiate its menu from its competitors.
Burger King has relied too much on its core products, such as the Whopper and fries, and has not been able to create new and exciting offerings that appeal to customers’ changing tastes and preferences.
Its attempts to introduce plant-based and chicken products have been met with lukewarm responses or criticisms23.
Neglecting to invest in its restaurants’ quality and design. Burger King has lagged behind its rivals in upgrading its facilities, equipment, technology, and aesthetics.
Many of its restaurants are outdated, unappealing, or poorly maintained. This has affected its customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
Using provocative and insensitive advertising campaigns that backfire.
Burger King has tried to be edgy and controversial in its marketing but has often crossed the line and offended or alienated some of its customers. Its ads have been accused of being sexist, racist, homophobic, or blasphemous.
Instead of generating positive buzz or engagement, these ads have damaged its brand image and reputation.
Burger King is closing hundreds of its restaurants by the end of 2023 as part of its restructuring plan to improve its profitability and competitiveness.
The company has been struggling to keep up with its rivals in the fast-food industry due to various factors, such as lack of innovation, poor quality, slow service, and controversial marketing.
Burger King has apologized for some of its mistakes and has announced some initiatives to revamp its menu, design, and strategy.
However, it remains to be seen whether these changes will be enough to turn around its fortunes and regain its customers’ trust and loyalty.
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