Burger King has a plan to make you fall in love with the Whopper again

Sep 13, 2022, 6:00 AM | Updated: 9:49 am

A report from Axio says people are spending more money at restaurants than at the grocery store. KS...

A report from Axio says people are spending more money at restaurants than at the grocery store. KSL NewsRadio's Dave Noriega and Maura Carabello discuss this with an industry expert. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The past few years have been tough for Burger King.

Missteps during the pandemic caused the chain to lag behind competitors. Over the past few quarters, Burger King has been playing catch up, and now the company is hoping a major investment in restaurants and advertising will help spark growth and propel it ahead of its peers.

In the next two years, Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, is planning to invest $400 million in improving the brand — $250 million will go toward updating restaurant tech, kitchens and remodeling, and $150 million to advertising and digital products. Franchisees will also invest in improving the brand.

One key part of that plan? Reminding customers of what Burger King is all about: The Whopper.

“What we really want to do in the short term is reintroduce America’s love affair with the Whopper,” Tom Curtis, President of Burger King North America, told CNN Business. The plan is to make sure workers are well trained in making the best possible Whopper, and that kitchens support consistency and ease of preparation.

The fast food giant is also going to lean in to advertising its signature burger.

“I don’t think we’ve talked about it enough. I just don’t think we’ve celebrated it enough,” Curtis said. “And I’m looking forward to putting it back in its rightful place as our lead act.” Through advertising, Burger King wants to remind customers that the Whopper is flame-grilled and customizable. But some other tweaks could be in store as well, Curtis said.

The brand is “evaluating whether or not there are changes to the Whopper that could make it a better product,” he said. But the team also doesn’t want to risk messing with its best known offering. “[We’re] a little bit in the camp of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Curtis said.

What went wrong

During the pandemic, restaurants had to quickly adjust their business models to contend with disrupted supply chainsclosed dining rooms and a spike in demand for delivery. Burger King didn’t adapt very well.

“Over the last few years during the pandemic and coming out of the pandemic … [Burger King US] didn’t do a great job of adjusting our business to the environment, ” RBI CEO Jose Cil told CNN Business. “We didn’t simplify.”

In the pandemic, many restaurants quickly slimmed down menus in order to simplify kitchen operations when delivery orders suddenly went through the roof. Workers scrambling to fill online orders could at least avoid complicated preparations.

But Burger King did the opposite.

“We, in fact, complicated things,” Cil said, “we added menu items … that were more difficult and not necessarily intuitive and typical for us to serve.”

Specifically Cil is talking about the Ch’King, a hand-breaded chicken sandwich that the chain introduced last year. The product “created a ton of bottlenecks operationally,” Cil said.

The issues set Burger King back as competitors advanced. In the second quarter of this year, sales at Burger King US restaurants open at least 13 months grew by just .4%. Sales at McDonald’s US restaurants open at least 13 months jumped 3.7% in that period.

Burger King recently retired the Ch’King, replacing it with the Royal Crispy Chicken sandwich.

The Ch’King “was a great product that was difficult or challenging for teams to execute on,” Curtis said. “The best thing for the guest is great flavor and consistency. So our Royal Crispy Chicken, which we just launched, offers both.”

As Burger King continues to work on other menu innovations, it will have to balance ease of execution with items that excite customers, Curtis added.

Remodels and rewards upgrades

To help boost sales and restaurant traffic, Burger King is making other improvements, including making restaurants look more modern.

The chain plans to remodel about 800 restaurants over the next two years.

The idea is to have consistent branding, but with customized layouts that make sense for the environment, Curtis said. A Burger King in a city might be smaller, with a higher focus on digital ordering. In a rural town, it might have more seating.

Burger King has already started updating its image. The brand changed its logo last year, switched packaging, uniforms and signage to the new look. A few years ago, it shared what remodeled restaurants might look like: triple-lane drive-thrus, burger pickup lockers and takeout counters.

The company also wants to make make it easier for customers to use the chain’s mobile app, revamp its rewards program by offering customized digital deals, and make delivery and to-go orders more convenient.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Business + Economy

Sandy City tax hike...

Curt Gresseth

Sandy City mayor discusses proposal to raise taxes by 32%

The mayor of Sandy discusses how to view a proposed 32% increase in property taxes this year and why it is needed.

19 hours ago

The LGBTQ Pride flag is seen past Scott and Lynne Barrett during the 2023 Utah Pride Parade in down...

Lindsay Aerts

Text messages reveal Utah lawmakers pressured UTA to pull Pride-wrapped bus out of parade

Newly revealed text messages show that a group of Utah lawmakers pressured UTA to reevaluate and apologize for the bus.

19 hours ago

Apple WWDC22 Tim Cook...

Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN

This could be Apple’s biggest product launch since the Apple Watch

Apple may be just one day away from unveiling its most ambitious new hardware product in years.

3 days ago

Payment apps like PayPal and Venmo might be convenient, but they’re not banks — and a federal f...

Chris Isidore

Don’t store cash in Venmo and PayPal, US regulator warns

NEW YORK (CNN) — Payment apps like PayPal and Venmo might be convenient, but they’re not banks — and a federal financial services watchdog is worried that too many consumers are treating them as such. Some consumers are using services like PayPal, Venmo, Cash App and Apple Pay for direct deposit of paychecks, or simply […]

4 days ago

When news broke of a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, one year ago, President Joe...

Kevin Liptak, CNN

Biden to address nation from Oval Office after avoiding catastrophic default

In his remarks, Biden will tell Americans the package ensures economic progress going forward.

5 days ago

quit their jobs...

Alicia Wallace, CNN

The US economy added 339,000 jobs last month, soaring past expectations — again

The unemployment rate is projected to rise slightly to 3.5% from a five-decade low of 3.4%. Companies have steadily slowed hiring since January

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Burger King has a plan to make you fall in love with the Whopper again