You are here

Burger King

Burger King popularly called as BK is a global fast food restaurant chain. It majorly serves hamburgers and sandwiches. The Company is head quartered in Miami, Florida but operates as many as 12,000 restaurants worldwide.

Product Range

The menu ranges from the basic Burgers, fries, milkshakes, colas, etc. and has been evolving over the years catering to the tastes of primarily the younger target group that forms the dominant customer base. New products have regularly been added to the existing menu to lure people in the wake of tough completion from other similar fast food restaurant chains. The whopper is a special burger served by Burger king, introduced as one of its major attractions way back in the mid 1950’s.

Subsequent additions failed to garner as much popularity within the United States but managed to make a mark outside. This was achieved through the customization of specific food according to regional tastes.

Company History

The company was founded in 1953 as Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida. The company went into loss and suffered financial instabilities in 1955. David Edgerton and James McLomore bought over the company and named it Burger King. They independently ran 250 stores. In 1967, the Burger King Corporation was sold to Pilsbury Company.

Burger king division was put up for sale in 2000 and in 2002; TPG Capital bought it for $1.5 billion. In 2006, the company got listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2010, the company was sold to 3G Capital of Brazil.

By the end of year 2011, the company had over 12400 outlets across 73 countries, majority being in the U.S.

Controversies and Legal Issues

Since its inception, Burger King has been embroiled in multiple legal disputes involving almost all operational aspects of the company.

With incorrect advertising tactics to draw customer base, ineffective marketing strategies, not too many successful product launches and severe mismanagement in company affairs at various department levels, the company has lost its former reputation somewhere along the line. Several unsuccessful attempts have been made in the past to revive the company to its original state of glory.

On the Menu

Basic hamburgers, Soft drinks, French fries, milkshakes as well as desserts featured in the original Burger King menu. The Whopper Sandwich burger was created and supply begun in 1957. The four ounce (over 100g a piece) burger became the signature dish of the Burger King Chain. This giant burger was made to stand out among other burgers.

Later after 1979, a new Specialty Sandwich segment was introduced targeting the 18-34 age group who displayed the buying power to spend more on seemingly better quality products. Subsequently, a breakfast menu was introduced to compete with McDonalds offering. Down the line some of the other new products, such as the Enormous Omelette Sandwich and the BK Stacker, invited a great deal of negative attention owing to the extra large portion sizes, and unhealthy amounts of saturated fats and trans-fats in them.

Products and Nutrition Information

Burger King’s rise and fall have always been a talking point. One of the major drawbacks that led to the downfall of this fast food chain may well be the unhealthy or indiscriminate use of fats in the food products. This may have been a drastic step to increase taste and palatability of their different offerings, in a bid to resurrect the one time wave of success. Some of the Burger King Products include-

Whopper Burger

This signature burger made up of a large (~ 115 g) grilled beef patty, white bread sesame seed bun with sliced onion, tomato, pickles, ketchup, lettuce, and a generous amount of mayonnaise was marketed as a remarkable extra large meal. Processed cheese, bacon, jalapeno peppers, mustard are other ingredients that one may opt for. Condiments alongside include salsa, honey mustard barbeque sauce, tartar sauce, steak or spicy sauce. Sometimes more than one beef patty maybe found in special versions.

BK Big King

In response to the McDonald’s Big Mac, BK introduced the Big King sandwich, a hamburger targeted to capture the late teenage and young adults, especially males, who tend to exhibit a larger appetite. Basically a hamburger with 2 grilled beef patties, 2 American cheese slices, special King Sauce, onions, iceberg lettuce, and pickle sandwiched between a sesame seed bun. The later revamped version of this burger- called the King Supreme XXL, led the Spanish Government to take stern action against the BK chain. Because of the unreasonably high levels of fat, sodium and calories; its way overboard portion size {that included an 8 ounce (~230 g) pre-cooked portion of hamburger} this was purported to damage the health of citizens. By propagating such an unhealthy and large snack/meal, BK was working in opposition the Government’s anti-obesity drive.

Nutritional Break down of the Big King Sandwich-

A single sandwich (1 serving ~196 g) supplied-

• A total of 490 calories, calories from fat being 115

• A total of 28 g of fat, with 11 g of saturated fat, 1 g trans fat, and cholesterol of 85 mg

• Carbohydrate content of 32 g with 7 g sugar and dietary fibre content of 2 g

• Total Sodium content is 700 mg

• Protein content is 27 g

BK Stacker

The BK Stacker hamburger bursting with layers of meat, bacon, and cheese, topped with proprietary stacker sauce was subsequently introduced. The burger could be a double, triple or quad stacker with 2, 3 or 4 beef patties, with multiple bacon pieces and cheese slices.

The Quad stacker, the ultimate burger presented-

• Over a 1000 calories, with fat supplying ~700 calories;

• A total of 68 grams fat of which 30 grams is saturated fat, well over the recommended daily allowance.

• Sodium content of over 2000 mg.

• Protein content of 64 g.

Chef's Choice Burger

The Chef's Choice Burger is essentially a cheese-stuffed burger; a product of Burger King targeted towards the more "indulgent" segment of society. It consists of a burger patty made using ground beef, bacon, American cheese, tomato, red onion, romaine lettuce, and a special proprietary "griller sauce" served on a brioche bun.

Nutritional value / serving of a single sandwich (~277 g)

• Energy 770 calories with 450 calories from fat.

• A total fat content of 50 g with saturated fat accounting for 21 g and trans fats 5 g and Cholesterol content of 125 mg

• A total Carbohydrate content of 41 g with sugar content of 8 g and Dietary fiber of 2 g.

• Sodium content of 1820 mg.

• Protein content of 39 g.

These and several other product lines have been under attack for the unhealthy nutritional content they possess.

Nutritional Improvement

BK products are considered unhealthy because-

• Beef and bacon are ingredients that possess a significant percentage of fat.

• Add to that, the method employed in preparing them

• The extraordinary amounts of cheese and mayonnaise and

• Unrestricted portion sizes to tempt customers

All these factors raise the chances of –

• Temptation to consume more than required quantities

• Weight gain and obesity

• Abnormal lipid profiles

• Increased risk of coronary heart disease

• Increased risk of developing constipation and digestive problems

• Increased risk of developing inflammatory disorders such as Arthritis, Gout, among others

• Increased risk of developing eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia among the youth.

Ways of improving Burger King products nutritionally-

• Decreasing the total and saturated fat content by use of low-fat mayonnaise, cheese, lean cuts of beef and bacon.

• Use of wholemeal flour and bran flour in preparing the sesame buns to increase B-vitamins needed in many metabolic processes and fibre content for ensuring bowel clearance.

• Use of plenty of vegetables in the burgers – more of lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage leaves, beetroot slices that add a lot of missing vitamins, minerals and important fibre. These also deliver phyonutrients such as phenolic compounds, flavonoids, indole-3-carbinol that have anti-cancer effects. Potassium from these would help balance the negative effects of overall high sodium content of the burger.

• Making a veggie salad or steamed veggies a compulsory accompaniment with burgers. Vegetables included may be carrot, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, brussel sprouts all of which are bursting with antioxidant nutrients that protect human tissues from free radical damage caused by many chemical substances intrinsic to fast foods.

• Use of textured vegetable protein, a soy derivative (commonly known as soy granules) in the making of patties could replace the high fat beef patties. These are nutritionally sound as they are a good source of fibre, phytoestrogens that afford protection from different types of cancer and osteoporosis. These offer valuable proteins and aid in weight loss too while delivering a texture very similar to meat. Hence, they can be a good vegan alternative too.

• Instead of offering colas and sugary beverages, green tea or herbal teas must be propagated as these are a source of the compound Epigallocatechin gallate [EGCG] that is a powerful antioxidant with cholesterol lowering functions and cardio-protective action.

• As desserts, fresh unsweetened fruit salads or cut fruits would be the best option supplying less than a third of the calories and more than three times the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants a normal dessert would provide.