SWOT analysis of Burger King (BK)
This detailed SWOT analysis of Burger King looks into the strengths and the weaknesses of Burger King. It also looks into the opportunities the company should explore and the threats it should keep an eye on.
Strengths of Burger King
Burger King is the 2nd largest fast food hamburger chain in the world. It serves more than 11 million customers worldwide every day (Burger King Corporation, 2021). It operates in almost 100 countries and US territories. It is also widely known by the abbreviation ‘BK’.
Burger King’s growth model and focus is on franchising. It is almost 100% franchisee-owned. According to Lock (2020) only 52 restaurants worldwide are company-owned, while 18,786 are franchisee-owned. This shows how effective the model is in reducing operating costs and drawing higher profits for the company.
Brand image plays a big role in the success of a company. In connection to this, it is clearly observed that Burger King has a strong brand image around the world. It has invested a lot of money to conduct marketing campaigns that are bold and innovative. This has helped the company build brand reputation and attract corporate recognition. For instance, Burger King was named Marketer of the Year (2017) in Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Likewise, its ‘Moldy Whopper’ was a big winner in ‘The One Show 2020’.
The food quality is also a good strength of Burger king. The restaurant offers customers flame-grilling burgers. The tomatoes and onions are freshly cut in restaurants every day. The beef patties that Burger King offers in the UK are made with 100% British and Irish beef. The patties contain no preservatives or additives (Burger King Corporation, 2021).
Weaknesses of Burger King
Lack of customer loyalty
Fast food industry is highly competitive. In this industry, customers find it very easy to switch from one brand to another. Therefore, it is absolutely important for the restaurants to make their customers satisfied and loyal. However, compared to some other big names in the industry, Burger King sees less customer loyalty.
Although franchising has a good number of advantages, it has some limitations as well. For example, some of the Burger King franchisees in Germany were accused of employee mistreatment in 2014. Consequently, Burger King decided to close 89 restaurants (Nsubuga, 2014). Likewise, some of its ad campaigns in 2020 made many people upset and angry.
Opportunities for Burger King
Burger King already operates in some of the top emerging economies in the world e.g. China and India. According to some analysts, it can further grow in these countries. Similarly, exploring growth opportunities in Bangladesh (One of the largest countries in the world by population) is worth the effort as the company currently has a very small number of restaurants in the country. Like emerging markets, further growth opportunities also exist in the company’s European markets.
Adding new product lines to attract more customers is also an opportunity for Burger King. More and more customers are now-a-days becoming health conscious. Therefore, introducing more options on the menu for health–conscious consumers is a good opportunity.
Threats to Burger King
Burger King faces the threat of aggressive competition worldwide. The main competitors of the company are McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, Taco Bell, Yum Brands, Starbucks, Chipotle, Wendy’s, Domino’s Pizza, and Pizza Hut.
Many people regard fast food as junk food. Well, they are not wrong. Numerous research findings suggest that junk food and sugary drinks are affecting both children and adults worldwide. Illnesses and health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are at unprecedented levels due to spread of fast food and sugary drinks (Boseley, 2016). Consequently, governments and NGO’s around the world are campaigning to create public awareness of the consequences of unhealthy food consumption.
Legal issues and fines
In August 2020, an operator of six Burger King outlets in southern China was fined $400,000 and other penalties for using expired foods (U.S. News). Likewise, a Burger King franchisee with 43 stores in Massachusetts (the USA) was fined $250,000 in 2017 because of more than 800 child-labour violations.
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Last update: 13 January 2021
Burger King Corporation (2021) About us, available at https://www.bk.com/about-bk (Accessed 12 January 2021)
Boseley, S. (2016) Junk food shortening lives of children worldwide, data shows, available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/07/junk-food-shortening-lives-children-obesity-diabetes-data (Accessed 10 April 2018)
Lock, S. (2021) Number of Burger King restaurants worldwide from 2009 to 2019, available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/222981/number-of-burger-king-restaurants-worldwide/ (Accessed 12 January 2021)
Nsubuga, J. (2014) Burger King closes 89 restaurants after allegations staff were mistreated, available at: http://metro.co.uk/2014/11/23/burger-king-closes-89-restaurants-after-allegations-staff-were-mistreated-4959646/ (Accessed 14 April 2018)
U.S. News (2020) Burger King Operator in China Fined Over Expired Ingredients, available at: https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2020-08-25/burger-king-operator-in-china-fined-over-expired-ingredients (accessed 10 January 2021)
Photo credit: www.burgerking.co.uk
Author: Joe David
Joe David has years of teaching experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality, and tourism management. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management.