Burger King Launches Its Comeback

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MIAMI (UPI) — U.S. fast food giant Burger King is counting on celebrities and a new menu to turn around its slide in market shares, the firm said.

“We wanted to make sure we went out with a message that caught people’s attention. The reaction we want from consumers is, ‘I want to go out and taste it myself,’ ” said Alexandre Macedo, senior vice president of marketing for North America.

The Miami Herald reported Monday that, despite more than 7,000 outlets in the United States, Burger King has slid behind Wendy’s as the country’s second largest restaurant chain by sales. There is also a serious competition by sandwich shop Subway and others — not to mention McDonald’s commanding more than 50 percent of the market as of last year, a first for the industry, the newspaper said.

For 2011, Burger King’s same store sales slipped 3.4 percent — a measure of receipts at stores open at least a year.

But Burger King was bought by 3G Capital in October 2010 and, unlike some investors, it seems clear the new owners are seeking to revive the company, not just ride it out.

The employees have new uniforms. The menu now includes fresh fruit smoothies and three new salad offerings. The firm has added caramel and mocha frappes and ditched items that were not selling well.

They have also upgraded quality, the Herald said.

A new ad campaign starting Monday features Jay Leno, Steve Tyler, soccer player David Beckham and others in various spots.

But one analyst said there was a flaw in the new strategy, in that the firm should not try to out-do McDonald’s at its own game.

“In the long run Burger King would be well-served to not try to be a McDonald’s clone,” said Mark Kalinowski, a restaurant industry analyst with Janney Capital Markets.

“They have got to figure out what to do to differentiate themselves from McDonald’s. You can’t ‘out McDonald’s’ McDonald’s. McDonald’s has a bigger advertising budget and more stores, which means they’re more convenient,” he said.

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