Burger King Concedes to McDonald’s Business Model

Burger King Concedes to McDonald’s Business Model


In the latest round of the burger wars, Burger King has apparently given up.  As you can see from the following commercial, Burger King has apparently run out of ideas and has changed its model to “Hey, we are not as good as McDonald’s, but we are cheaper.”

This commercial is bothersome in many ways:

If you have taken the business model assessment tool at www.businessmodelevaluator.com, you know that the most important of the eight components to a business model is excellent margins.  Burger King is foregoing excellent margins in lieu of the easy target.  There is an old saying in business, “The fastest way out of business is imitating your competition.”  Perhaps Burger King hasn’t heard that one?

For fifty years, Burger King as been chasing McDonald’s.  Burger King seems to be content to be second.  Although Burger King had a nice head start, they are forever the runner-up.  Burger King was founded in 1953 vs. McDonalds in 1961.  Burger King’s Whopper was invented in 1957 vs. 1967 for the Big Mac.

Since then, it’s been downhill for Burger King.

    Item                   1st to Market                    Burger King

99c menu               Wendy’s (1989)                       1993

Breakfast                McDonalds (1972)                   1982

Free Refills            Taco Bell (1988)                      1994 (approx)

It may have been fifty years ago, but Burger King has shown that it can innovate.  Here are some potential ideas for Burger King:

Some of these may be horrible ideas, but at least they aren’t copy-cat ideas.  Great margins are given to innovators, not me-too players.  Burger King has a significant footprint with over 12,000 restaurants in 73 countries.  Opportunity exists to differentiate the brand rather than be the burger you eat when the McDonald’s drive through is too crowded.

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