Burger King Corporation

6567 Words27 Pages
Harvard Business School 9-681-045
Rev. February 27, 1998

Burger King Corporation
The first Burger King restaurant in Miami in the mid-1950s featured a walk-up window, a limited menu (burgers and shakes for 19¢, sodas and fries for 10¢), and "your food ready by the time you 'd paid for it." As one early manager recalled, "Our windows faced front so we could see customers driving in. With the limited menu, we pretty much knew what they 'd order and we 'd have it ready." In the 1960s and 1970s, Burger King developed an assembly-line production process that delivered a fresh, hot, high-quality sandwich, yet that had the flexibility to customize that sandwich. One executive explained, "Market research showed us that our ability to give the
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The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pillsbury Company, was organized on a geographic basis with three divisions and, within them, a region, area, and district structure. On average, for example, five company-operated restaurants reported to a district manager. The corporate relationship with franchise restaurants had evolved from a policing function to one that included significant consulting. Support services such as personnel, training, and accounting reported to the regional level. Burger King restaurants varied widely in size and design, reflecting locations that ranged from shopping malls to interstate highway intersections. Typically, each store had a unique pattern of sales and a work force drawn from the local labor market.

The Hillybourne Restaurant
Hillybourne (a disguised location) was a New England college town with a population of about 30,000. The Burger King restaurant was located on heavily commercialized Maple Street, about one-quarter mile south of an interstate highway intersection and one and one-quarter miles north of the town center. The modern, landscaped, brick and glass building sat between a diner and a manufacturing plant (with 200 employees) and across the street from the shopping plaza. Toward town, Maple Street was lined with several restaurants, including a McDonald 's, half a dozen car dealers and gas stations, and a dozen small businesses. The central business district adjacent to the college contained public
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