Burger King has a new branding strategy, and it’s a Whopper

For many years, Burger King has played second fiddle to McDonalds. In the last decade, they have been passed by Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, and Wendy’s. Sales have barely grown since 2020 and their leadership is under pressure to improve the performance of the brand. 


On paper, the 68-year-old franchise should be very competitive. Its burgers are flame-broiled, not fried, and their ordering system encourages personal choices like no onions or ketchup. (An old jingle for the slogan ‘Have it your way’ goes, “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.”) Yet, year after year, despite a custom-order system and arguably better taste, the Home of the Whopper trails the pack. Their sales are currently less than 25 percent of what McDonald’s rings up each year, according to QSRmagazine.com. 


In my own experience with Burger King, I have seen widely varying levels of service and food preparation, to the point of being told by the disembodied voice of one drive-thru when I noted that the slogan on their cup says, ‘Have it your way,’ “We know what it says on the cup, but you can’t have it that way.” (All I asked for was to mix my onion rings with some fries. No problem at other locations.) This is the challenge of any franchise business—to maintain quality throughout its far-flung enterprise. And quality control includes prescribing and managing the brand experience of millions of customers in Burger King’s case. 


Their management’s new strategy is to focus on their flagship product brand: The Whopper. The company has announced that in the next two years, it will invest $400 million in improvements to the brand — $250 million for upgraded technology and store remodeling, and $150 million for advertising and digital products. 


BK’s president, Tom Curtis, told CNN Business, “What we really want to do in the short term is reintroduce America’s love affair with the Whopper.” (If I may, Mr. Curtis, “…rekindle America’s love affair…” would be a better choice of words. But I digress.) Doubling down on producing a better, fresher, custom-ordered Whopper should help move the sales needle a bit, but will it be enough to resuscitate the BK brand overall? 


Perhaps part of the problem is a lack of other well-known sub-brands on the menu that can attract a broader audience. McDonald’s has the Big Mac, the Quarter Pounder, the Happy Meal, and even the seasonal McRib, all of which are essentially household names that appeal to the whole family. Burger King has the Whopper and Whopper Jr., and little else that occupies their customers’ minds. BK leadership recently said that their menu had become too diversified and cited their hand-breaded chicken sandwich as an example that bottlenecked their service. 


The Ch’king, as it’s called, seems superior to a McChicken sandwich, but the Golden Arches is still winning the battle. I wish BK the best in renewing our love affair with the Whopper, but what they may really need is a customer base interested in hooking up with a variety of their menu selections. I’m sure the Whopper would understand.  


David Taylor is president of Lancaster-based Taylor Brand Group, which specializes in brand development and marketing technology. Contact him via www.taylorbrandgroup.com.  


Burger King seeks 120 Lehigh Valley area employees

A company that runs 16 Burger King franchises in the Greater Lehigh Valley is hosting a job fair Tuesday to hire 120 workers including 26 managers and 94 team members. 

GPS Hospitality is hiring at all of its restaurants including locations on Tilghman Street in Allentown, South 25th Street in Easton, MacArthur Road in Whitehall and Stefko Boulevard in Bethlehem. 

GPS Hospitality said that it prides itself on its bonus plan, which provides rewards and recognition throughout the company.  

During the first half of 2022, GPS said it awarded more than $1.3 million merit-based bonus dollars.  

Since 2018, the company has also instituted annual vacation bonuses for full-time team members and offered “Work Today, Get Paid Tomorrow” via a partnership with Instant Pay. The free program provides employees the opportunity to receive up to 50% of their pay the next day. 

Management level employees are eligible to receive performance-driven monetary bonuses, awards within GPS and other benefits. 

Hiring managers will be on-site to meet with potential applicants and to conduct interviews. No appointment is necessary, and qualified applicants may be hired on-the-spot. 


Former Emmaus Mexican restaurant being demolished for Burger King

Construction crews are demolishing the former Fiesta Ole restaurant in Emmaus. It’s being replaced by a Burger King. PHOTO/STACY WESCOE

The former Fiesta Ole restaurant at 1116 Chestnut Street in Emmaus is no more. Crews are demolishing the building of the once popular Mexican restaurant to make way for a Burger King.

The former owners of Fiesta Ole have since opened a new restaurant, Casa Catrina, in Lower Macungie Township.

Colliers said it signed a ground lease for the site with Burger King, which will be building a new building, along with a drive thru, on the property. Derek Zerfass, a senior vice president with Colliers’ retail division, represented the owner. Adam Hagerman of Bennett Williams represented the tenant.

The spot, near the intersection with Cedar Crest Boulevard, is at a busy stretch of road in Emmaus. A McDonald’s, WAWA, Santander Bank, Weis Markets and a strip center all close by.

Legal settlement ends ‘no poach’ rules used by fast-food industry

So called “no-poach contracts,” can no longer be used to prevent fast-food workers in Pennsylvania and the country from accepting a job at another franchise in the same restaurant chain.


A multistate settlement brokered by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and 12 other state Attorneys General, ends a practice that Shapiro says hurt low-wage workers by limiting their ability to secure better paying jobs.

Letters were sent to Arby’s, Burger King, Dunkin’ Brands, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Little Caesars, Panera Bread, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, and Wendy’s requesting copies of franchise agreements and communications related to no-poach provisions.

Wendy’s provided confirmation that it never used the provision in their contracts with franchisees. The other franchises who received the letters agreed to stop using the agreements

Under the terms of the settlements, the franchisors have agreed to stop including the provision in any of their franchise agreements and to stop enforcing any already in place.  Franchisees will also post notices in all locations to inform employees of the settlement.

“The priority of my office is protecting all working Pennsylvanians, especially vulnerable workers who can be exploited by fast food restaurants to make big profits,” Shapiro said. “Ending no-poach agreements is an important step in preserving the rights of fast food employees across Pennsylvania. I’m proud of the collaboration between my office and the 13 Attorneys General that have successfully fought to end this unjust practice.”

Other states participating in the case were Massachusetts, California, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland,

Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Washington, D.C., also participated.