Burger King Products
When the predecessor of international fast food restaurant chain Burger King (BK) first opened in 1953, its menu predominantly consisted of hamburgers, French fries, soft drinks, milkshakes, and desserts. After being acquired by its Miami, Florida franchisees and renamed in 1954, BK began expanding its menu by adding the Whopper sandwich in 1957, and has since added non-beef items such as chicken, fish, and vegetarian offerings, including salads and meatless sandwiches. Other additions include a breakfast menu and beverages such as Icees, juices, and bottled waters. As the company expanded both inside and outside the United States, it introduced localized versions of its products that conform to regional tastes and cultural or religious beliefs. To generate additional sales, BK occasionally introduces limited-time offers of special versions of its products, or brings out completely new products intended for either long- or short-term sales. Not all of these products and services have been successful; in 1992, Burger King introduced limited table service featuring special dinner platters, but this concept failed to generate interest and was discontinued.
The company introduced the first iteration of its breakfast menu, along with the company's "Specialty Sandwich" product line, in a 1978 menu expansion. The products were some of the first designed by a fast food restaurant chain that were intended to capture the adult market, members of which would be willing to spend more on a higher-quality product. The expanded Burger King menu was part of a plan by then-company president Donald N. Smith to reach the broadest possible demographic market to better compete with McDonald's, and to fend off then newcomer Wendy's, who had a growing market share. The plan was successful: the company's sales increased by 15 percent. Despite another menu expansion in 1985, the company's market gains diminished due to neglect of the brand at the hands of then-parent Pillsbury and its successors, Grand Metropolitan and Diageo. When the company was sold to a group led by TPG Capital in 2004, the trend of targeting an expanded audience was renewed under a plan by its then-CEO Brad Blum. During Blum's tenure, the company added several products that featured higher-quality ingredients and other menu fare that again attempted to appeal to the adult palate and demographic. As in the past, not all of these products met corporate sales expectations, or in the case of several of its larger offerings, resulted in negative publicity due to nutritional concerns. With the purchase of the company in 2010 by 3G Capital, the company again began another revamp of its product line by phasing out some products, introducing new ones and redesigning others including its flagship Whopper sandwich.
Like its menu, the equipment the company cooks its hamburgers with has also evolved as the company grew. The burgers have always been broiled mechanically; the original unit, called an Insta-Broiler, was one of two pieces of equipment the founders of Insta-Burger King purchased before opening their new restaurant. The Insta-Broiler worked by cooking 12 burger patties in a wire basket, allowing the patties to be cooked from both sides simultaneously. With the acquisition of the chain by its Miami franchisees came an improved unit dubbed a "Flame Broiler". Designed by the new owners, it featured stationary burners that cooked the meat on a moving chain. The unit broke down less often, while maintaining a similar cooking rate. The cooking format remained for the next 40 years until Burger King developed a new, variable speed broiler that could handle multiple items with different cooking rates and times. These new unit began testing in 1999 and eventually evolved into the two models the company deployed system-wide in 2008–2009. Accompanying these new broilers was new food-holding equipment and a computer-based product monitoring system for its cooked products. The new system allows for more concise tracking of product quality, while giving its users a method to streamline costs by more precisely projecting sales and product usage.
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