🍔 The $32B burger

💰 From 0 To $32B

In 1953, a tiny restaurant in Jacksonville Florida named “Insta-Burger” was fighting an uphill battle to keep their doors open.

Little did they know, 70 years later their tiny restaurant would become one of the top fast-food chains in the world.

In the last 70 years, this chain has:

  • Operated under 4 different owners including Pillsbury and a British alcohol company

  • Changed their name 3 times and their logo 6 times

  • Permanently altered the fast-food burgers as we know it today

This is the story of Burger King and how two founders built a $32B company by mastering how to turn negative attention into billions.

Here’s what we got for ya:

  • 👑 The Story Of Burger King

  • 🍔 The Whopper

  • 🛰 The Satellite Strategy

Read Time: 5 min 10 sec

👑 The Story Of Burger King

I won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty details of Burger King’s bumpy beginning, so here’s the quick verison…

In 1953, the first Burger King opened in Florida under the name “Insta-Burger King.”

It was run by two guys inspired by the new and growing McDonald's in Illinois.

The First Burger King

At this point, fast food was a new trend that promised millions. It was cheap to make, and America was a starving crowd.

But the two founders (Keith Kramer and Matthew Burns) knew the money was not in owning a fast-food restaurant… It was in owning hundreds of them.

So that’s what they did.

But the fast food franchising market was a new territory…

There were few guidelines and almost no mass-produced machinery to support it.

One of Burger King’s first ads

Their first restaurant was operating at a 57% loss for its first 3 years.

Kramer and Burns were taking out thousands in loans, promising investors dreams they couldn’t fulfill, and on top of all that…

They were being crushed by McDonald’s.

It wasn’t until 1957 that Burger King was able to turn things around.

In 1957, Burger King realized competing with McDonald’s to be the best fast-food restaurant would not work.

Especially stats showed that customers thought Burger King’s burgers were “overcooked”, “Too expensive”, and a “pain in the a** to order.”

This realization and a quick local competition analysis led them to the biggest (and best) decision the company has ever made…

It’s the decision that boosted their sales by over 60% the next year, and was literally their get-out-of-jail-for-free card…

The Whopper.

More on this:

Have a business or something you want to promote in front of 65,000+ readers?

Click the button below to apply now!

🍔 The Whopper

By 1958, Burger King dropped the ‘Insta’ from their name and became “Burger King; “The home of the Whopper”

The Whopper is a quarter-pound burger that has become the signature meal of Burger King.

In 1957, it was the biggest fast-food burger you could order and worth 37 cents.

Why was it such a hit for Burger King?

Because for the first time, customers had a reason to go to Burger King over McDonalds.

“By 1993 we were selling over two million Whoppers every day, and surveys showed that the American people favored the Whopper by as much as two to one over any other hamburger. I expressed the view that this sandwich could be a very powerful and effective marketing tool.” - Jim McLamore

Burger King became the place for the best and biggest burger.

So, almost all of their marketing features a comparison between the Whopper and McDonald’s.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Ex #1 - "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?"

After the big scare that McDonald’s caused food poisoning, Burger King released a commercial pushing customers to ask Google Home “What is the Whopper Burger?”

When asked, Google Home would say that it was a “poisonous burger” and “had hormones that may result in death.”

The ads got millions of views over social media and increased 15% of Whopper sales that year.

Ex #2 - The Moldy Burger

Then there was the ‘Moldy Burger’ campaign which was in response to a customer claiming their Big Mac did not mold after 28 days…

Ex #3 - The ChatGPT Billboard

I think this one speaks for itself…

More on this:

🛰 The Satellite Strategy

Not only did the very idea of Burger King come from McDonald’s...

But 70 years later their entire marketing strategy still relies on them.

Simply put, there is no Burger King without McDonald’s.

This is what I call ‘The Satellite Strategy.’

Businesses use the Satellite Strategy all the time. Take Pickleball for example.

With the rise of Pickleball, more money has been made on the satellite businesses than the game itself…

Jerseys, shoes, premium paddles…

Or 1-800-Flowers (The largest global flower delivery company) who breaks even on their flower delivery service but makes millions on their baskets and vases…

Don’t create attention. Channel it.

What'd you think of today's edition?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Join the conversation

or to participate.