History of Burger King

In 1952 Keith G. Cramer, owner of a carhop restaurant in Daytona Beach, Florida, acquired the rights to two of George Read’s Miracle Insta-Machines: one made multiple milkshakes and the other was the Insta-Broiler that can cooked 12 burgers simultaneously.

In 1953 Cramer opened the Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville, Florida and he began to franchise his operation. In the beginning of 1954 two marketing and financial entrepreneurs, James McLamore and David Edgerton, launched several Insta-Burger outlets in Miami.

Unlike most of the other fast food entrepreneurs who had limited education, McLamore and David Edgerton both held degrees from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
McLamore and Edgerton disposed of the Insta-Broiler and created a flame broiler, and in 1957 they introduced the Whopper hamburger which they sold for 37 cents.

By 1959 their strategy of selling a limited menu of hamburgers, fries, and soft drinks worked well enough that the partners had succeeded in expanding their business to five stores in Miami, each one a small building surrounded by a large parking lot.

The owners then set out to form a nationwide chain of Burger Kings, all selling the same hamburgers, fries and drinks quickly and cheaply.

Today the Whopper sandwich is world renowned for its fire-grilled taste and the many ways customers can order it to their liking.

Similar to other fast food pioneers such as Ray Kroc of Mac Donald’s and Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken, the Burger King founders sought to attract investors by giving away excusive rights to large territories through franchise arrangements.

A Burger King franchise originally cost $25,000 including equipment, plus 1 percent of gross sales. By 1984, the standard investment was about $400,000 with 4 percent of gross sales in top of that.

The chain had grown to 274 stores by 1967, 35 of them company owned. Then during the first wave of mergers between food processors and restaurants, Pillsbury, the large food conglomerate, bought the entire company for $28 million.

Two years after the acquisition, the company opened its first franchise in Canada. Subsequently Burger King opened restaurants in Europe, Asia and Latin America. It opened its first Australian outlet in 1971, and other countries followed.
History of Burger King
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Reuters: Business News