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5 Reasons Why Burger King Is Losing

Money.CNN has an article titled “What Went Wrong At Burger King?” in response to the recent acquisition of Burger King by an investment firm.  The article is well written and gives a great “macro” perspective, but we wanted to give a more “micro” perspective of the problems in the Burger Kingdom.

I find the acquisition interesting because, in my opinion, Burger King has one of the better fast-food burgers available around us, which begs the question: what went wrong?

Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer to fire up the grill and partake in my own grilling glory, but when I’m on the go, I prefer a Burger King burger over a McDonald’s burger.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t have my complaints about Burger King, in fact, I am a McDonald’s shareholder.  Yes, my financial instincts betray my taste buds, but here is why I love BK, but believe in McD.  We will critique Burger King using the Wealth Artisan Fast-food 5 S’s©:

  • Sanitation
  • Setup
  • Speed
  • Standards
  • Service

#5 Sanitation.

Sanitation is a pillar of strength in the food and restaurant arena.  It is a simple basic that can close a business down.

Burger King wasn’t filthy (in many of my experiences) but on a long road trip, my wife and I always went to a McDonald’s first, after we had consistently bad experiences at Burger King.

I also think that their indoor color choices lend them to looking dirty, when they very well may be spick-and-span.

Either way, my wife and I have this thought process on road trips:

  • McDonald’s is clean
  • Burger King isn’t
  • Exit when we see the golden arches
  • Keep driving if it is only a BK exit, even though it is more delicious 🙁

These dangerous thoughts took business away from the more tasty Burger King and handed it to McDonald’s.  Even if bathroom cleanliness isn’t indicative of the cleanliness of the rest of the restaurant, it makes peoples’ mind’s wander.

#4 Setup.

I can only really speak for us locally, but out of all of the fast-food restaurants around us, Burger King has the absolute worst locations and drive-thru setups.  They were poorly picked & laid out, and you can tell that the drive-thru and parking was fitted to the land chosen, more so than the land chosen for a good setup.

McDonald’s around us is accessible to both directions of traffic (no u-turns needed), their entrances and exits are well thought out, and entrances don’t get backed up onto the highway because the drive-thru traffic is blocking the entrance.

#3 Speed.

Burger king is the only fast-food place that took me over 20 minutes to get my food when there was only one car in front of me.  Maybe it was a bad order, right?  Additionally, it is the only fast-food restaurant where I routinely have to wait over 10 minutes, and it isn’t because of a long line.  I know this is a problem with Burger King because no other fast-food restaurants around us exhibit this behavior.

#2 Standards.

This section can also be known as consistency.  McDonald’s claim to fame is consistency.  I’ve read numerous articles where the only focus being written about is McDonald’s consistency and what they do to strive for it.  When multiple articles, and even full books can be written about the same topic and never be redundant, then you know you’re doing something right.

Between inconsistent charges for the same kinds of food, different charges for the same additions, and all out different toppings between locations, it’s hard to find any consistency at Burger King.  If I order a burger, I have to specify all of the toppings that come on it or else I’ll get something that shouldn’t have ever been present, or I’ll miss something as basic as a tomato.

#1 Service.

All of the above complaints can be rendered down to one problem: level of service.  Burger King is the only fast-food restaurant where I consistently get unfriendly, apathetic, slow service.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to ride a high horse here because I’ve done my time in the food services industry.

I cleaned toilets when I was a kid, and I dealt with the angry customers, but this is different.  I’m not sure if it is the hiring policies, or the work environment, but there is certainly something wrong with many of the employees that I’ve run into.

I have worked many years in customer service, so I’m always polite, even if I don’t get it back.  I’m the kind of person that thanks an employee for working on a holiday.  Again, none of the other restaurant’s have this problem consistently.

Have I had a mean-spirited kid waiting for his shift to end at McDonald’s?  You bet your bottom dollar, but I’ve never run into such consistently poor service.  I’m including the below image for fun, but it’s something worth thinking about.  The below image shows some of the more commonly searched for things when you begin typing a phrase into Google.

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