Burger King has a plan to make you fall in love with the Whopper again

Burger King has a plan to make you fall in love with the Whopper again
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Mistakes during the pandemic caused the chain to fall behind competitors. In recent quarters, Burger King has been trying to catch up, and now the company is hoping that a huge investment in restaurants and advertising will help drive growth and propel it ahead of its peers.
In the next two years, Burger King, owned by International Brands Restaurant (QSR), plans to invest $400 million in upgrading the brand: $250 million will go to upgrading restaurant technology, kitchens and remodels, and $150 million to advertising and digital products. Franchisees will also invest in improving the brand.

A key part of that plan? Reminding customers what Burger King: The Whopper is all about.

“What we really want to do in the short term is reintroduce America’s love affair with the Whopper,” Tom Curtis, president of Burger King North America, told CNN Business. The plan is to make sure the workers are well-trained to make the best Whopper possible, and that the kitchens support consistency and ease of preparation.

The fast-food giant will also lean toward advertising for signature burgers.

“I don’t think we talked about it enough. I just don’t think we celebrated it enough,” Curtis said. “And I’m looking forward to putting him back in his rightful place as our headlining act.” Through advertising, Burger King wants to remind customers that the Whopper is grilled and customizable. But some other tweaks could also be in store, Curtis said.

The brand is “evaluating whether or not there are changes to the Whopper that could make it a better product,” he said. But the team also does not want to risk playing with its best-known offer. “[We’re] a little bit in the field of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Curtis said.

what went wrong

During the pandemic, restaurants had to quickly adjust their business models to deal with interrupted supply chains, closed dining rooms and a peak in delivery demand. Burger King did not adapt very well.

“Over the last few years during the pandemic and coming out of the pandemic… [Burger King US] it didn’t do a great job of adjusting our business to the environment,” RBI CEO Jose Cil told CNN Business. “We don’t simplify.”

In the pandemic, many restaurants quickly scaled back menus to streamline kitchen operations when delivery orders suddenly spiked. Workers struggling to fulfill online orders could at least avoid complicated preparations.

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But Burger King did the opposite.

“We actually complicated things,” Cil said, “we added menu items … that were more difficult and not necessarily intuitive and typical to serve.”

Specifically, Cil is talking about the Ch’King, a hand breaded chicken sandwich that the chain presented last year. The product “created a ton of bottlenecks operationally,” Cil said.
The problems pushed Burger King back as competitors advanced. In the second quarter of this year, sales at US Burger King restaurants open at least 13 months increased by just 0.4%. sales in mcdonald’s (DCM) US restaurants open at least 13 months increased 3.7% in that period.

Burger King recently retired the Ch’King, replacing it with the Royal Crispy Chicken sandwich.

The Ch’King “was a great product that was difficult or challenging for teams to execute,” Curtis said. “The best thing for the guest is great flavor and consistency. That’s why our Royal Crispy Chicken, which we just launched, offers both.”

As Burger King continues to work on other menu innovations, it will have to balance ease of execution with elements that excite customers, Curtis added.

Renovations and reward improvements

The chain plans to remodel hundreds of restaurants.

To help boost restaurant sales and traffic, Burger King is making other improvements, including making restaurants look more modern.

The chain plans to remodel some 800 restaurants in the next two years.

The idea is to have a consistent brand, but with custom designs that make sense for the environment, Curtis said. A Burger King in a city may be smaller, with a greater focus on digital ordering. In a rural town, you might have more seats.

Burger King has already started updating its image. The brand changed its logo last year, changed packaging, uniforms, and signage to the new look. A few years ago, he shared what the restaurants remodeled Could appeared: three-lane drive-thrus, burger pick-up lockers, and takeout counters.
The company also wants to make it easier for customers to use the chain’s mobile application, renew their rewards program by offering personalized digital offers and making delivery and takeout more convenient.

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