The Home of the Whopper Turns 70!
Have It Your Way, Instantly
Now known for being home to the Whopper, along with creating one of the most popular and polarizing jingles in recent commercial history, Burger King turns 70 this weekend! Burger King began as Insta-Burger King in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida. A man named Keith J. Kramer and his wife’s uncle, Matthew Burns realized that a piece of equipment called the Insta-Broiler could create fast and delicious burgers and prompted them to open a new kind of restaurant. As their burger’s popularity grew, they decided to franchise the restaurant and at one time they required all of the franchise locations to carry the Insta-Broiler.
Growing A National Chain
Two men named James McLamore and David R. Edgerton acquired a license and opened four locations of Insta-Burger King in 1954. They started having issues with the Insta-Broiler but that led to them creating a mechanized gas grill that seemed to work even better. They dubbed it the “flame broiler,” and it truly changed the game. Even today, Burger King calls their burgers “Flame-Grilled Burgers” due to this device that cooks patties similar to a charcoal grill. McLamore and Edgerton became so successful they purchased the rights to the chain in 1959 and dropped the “Insta,” to become the Burger King you know and love today.
A King Is Born
Along with the company’s new signature piece of equipment, two other Burger King staples were created around the same period of time. In 1955, the first mascot for the company was created. The original logo featured a “king” sitting on an oversized plain burger holding a full-body-sized fountain drink. Although the mascot has since been updated to a more realistic king that is portrayed as a real-life character, “Burger King” has always been synonymous with the overall brand. The most well-known distinguisher between Burger King and other fast-food restaurants is the world-famous Whopper sandwich. In 1957, James McLamore created the sandwich and Burger King sold it for just 37 cents. McLamore noticed that the rivals of Burger King had success creating a larger burger and chose the name Whopper because it conveyed “imagery of something big.”
Planning For The Future
In 2009, Burger King opened its 12,000th store, located in Beijing. Shortly after, in 2011, due to a decrease in sales, Burger King decided on a yearlong revamp of its menu and advertising, attempting to cater more toward the modern consumer with healthier options. Sadly, in 2019, Burger King decided to close up to 250 low-volume locations per year. After another disappointing year in 2020 that included Burger King sliding down to the No. 3 burger chain in terms of sales in the U.S., behind Wendy’s and McDonald’s, Burger King and its parent company, Restaurant Brands, decided it was time for a comeback. The duo is planning on pouring $400 million into restaurant renovations and advertising. The chain is also taking steps to improve restaurant operations and update menu offerings, although they continue to focus on the Whopper, as it has become synonymous with Burger King.