The King of Burgers
December 4, 1954: James McLamore and David R. Edgerton open a fast food restaurant. On July 23, 1953, Insta-Burger King opened in Jacksonville, Florida. Keith Kramer and Matthew Burns were inspired by the McDonald brothers’ San Bernardino, California endeavors. The two men purchased a machine called an Insta-Broiler which could quickly cook hamburgers. They sold franchise rights and demanded all of the other Insta-Burger King outlets also use the machine. McLamore and Edgerton, both alumni of Cornell University of Hotel Administration, were looking for a business opportunity. They had both visited the original hamburger stand belong to Dick and Mac McDonald. They hoped to create a way to use assembly line innovations to create a new dining experience.
They acquired a license and opened their original store at 3090 NW 36th Street in Miami. By 1959 they had stores in several different spots within the Miami-Dade area. The Insta-Broilers were succumbing to failure due to drippings from the beef patties and so the two created a mechanized gas grill to overcome the problem. They called their new system a flame broiler as it moved the patties over flames vertically on a chain link conveyor. This also gave the patties the grill lines similar to those cooked on a charcoal grill. The original Insta-Burger King had expanded to 40 stores but even so, by 1955, they were having financial problems. McLamore and Edgarton purchased the national rights to the chain and changed the name to Burger King in 1959.
In 1967, Pillsbury Company acquired Burger King from the two men. At that time, there 274 restaurants in the US and they had an estimated value of $18 million. The problem with the rapid expansion was that there was little oversight and end products were haphazardly produced. The Louisiana based Chart House was owned and operated by Billy and Jimmy Trotter and they opened their first Burger King franchise in 1963. By 1970, they had over 350 stores and hoped to buy out Pillsbury who declined the offer. A new offer was created by the Trotter brothers and again Pillsbury declined. When the Louisiana brothers moved to open franchises out of state, Pillsbury successfully sued them. Chart House spun off its Burger King business to concentrate on higher end restaurants and Pillsbury bought the Burger King business for $390 million in 1984.
Burger King was taken public in 2002 and in late 2010, 3G Capital of Brazil acquired a majority stake in the company, a deal valued at $3.26 billion. At the end of 2013, Burger King had over 13,000 outlets in 76 countries. They have over 35,000 employees. 3G Capital owns 71% of the company with Justice Founders holding 13% and shareholders having the remaining stock. In 2012, their revenue was $1.97 billion with a net income of $117.7 million. Their headquarters remain in Miami-Dade County, Florida with Alexandre Behring as Chairmain, Daniel Schwartz as CEO, and Joshua Kobza in the position of CFO. Wherever you are in the world, you can “Have it your way”.
Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius. – Matthew McConaughey
To eat well, I always disagree with critics who say that all restaurants should be fine dining. You can get a Michelin star if you serve the best hamburger in the world. – David Chang
Everyone has a right to a university degree in America, even if it’s in Hamburger Technology. – Clive James
I want to keep fighting because it is the only thing that keeps me out of the hamburger joints. If I don’t fight, I’ll eat this planet. – George Foreman
Also on this day: The Boss – In 1875, Boss Tweed escaped from prison.
Watch This – In 1791, the first Sunday newspaper was published.
Surf’s Up – In 1969, Greg Noll rode a big wave.
Home on the Grange – In 1867, the Grange was formed.