Florida-based Fast Food chain Burger King is one of the most common restaurants in the world with nearly 20,000 locations. While you probably know the Burger King menu and advertising, there are some surprising facts that you may not have known about BK. Here are five behind-the-scenes tidbits about Burger King and how they operate, advertise, and more.
The Fight For the Name
People that live in the central part of Illinois might notice that there’s a lack of Burger King locations despite all of the other major fast-food chains setting up shop in the area. The reason for this is because in Mattoon, Illinois, there’s an independent restaurant owned by the Hoots family with the same name. The family said that their name came before the fast food chain, and the two sides have battled in court.
As a result, the Burger King chain is not allowed to open a restaurant within 20 miles of Mattoon. This means that places with decently sized populations like Effingham or Charleston, Illinois aren’t able to have a BK. The chain offered the Hoots family $10,000 to get them to allow restaurants within the area, but the family declined and to this day has the only restaurant in the area with the Burger King name.
There’s an Exclusive Club
There are a ton of perks that come with being rich and famous. You’d think that these types of people wouldn’t need free fast food, but that is indeed one of those perks. Burger King has what’s known as a BK Crown Card, which is a gold card that looks like your run-of-the-mill credit card. It’s a little more exclusive than just being famous, though, as there are only about 12 people in the world with the Crown Card.
Burger King tends to give them to those who have worked with the brand directly, appearing in advertisements. George Lucas is one of those who has a BK Crown Card thanks to the licensing partnership between his “Star Wars” films and Burger King. Obviously, there was a lot of interest in being the chain that brought “Star Wars” toys to kids’ meals, and Burger King was the big winner.
Some Countries Have a Different Version
If you’ve been to Australia, you’ve probably seen a very familiar logo but with a different name. In the country, there are more than 400 locations of the Hungry Jack’s franchise, and the logo is identical to Burger King’s. That’s because the fast food chain, which was established in 1971, Burger King was already trademarked in Australia. The company let franchisee Jack Cowin name the Aussie version after himself.
During the late 1990s, however, the two sides got into a legal battle which resulted in Hungry Jack’s winning more than $40 million. Burger King pulled out of Australia because of the lawsuit, and Trans-Pacific Foods took over some of the region’s locations. However, most of Australia’s Hungry Jack’s are owned by the business instead of franchisees but still boast the same Burger King branding.
The Got a Celeb Banned From McDonald’s
Sarah Michelle Gellar was one of the biggest stars of the 1990s thanks to her role in the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Even at the peak of her fame, however, she wasn’t allowed to enter a McDonald’s location because of a lawsuit that stemmed from her work with Burger King when she was a child. Gellar was in a 1981 commercial for Burger King that claimed that the chain had larger hamburgers than McDonald’s.
McDonald’s was furious with the claim and took Burger King to court. They then placed a ban on everyone involved with the advertising campaign from entering their restaurants, even a five-year-old Gellar. “It was tough because, when you’re a little kid, McDonald’s is where all your friends have their birthday parties, so I missed out on a lot of apple pies,” Gellar said.
They Found Revitalization Through Video Games
There have been tie-ins before between fast-food companies and video game publishers, but only with mild success. Then, during the Xbox 360 era of games, there was the successful Burger King campaign. At BK locations, you could get discs that contained one of three video games for the system.
It was a great way for the company to tap into the millennial market that had just gotten into adulthood during the mid-2000s. The three games were “Sneak King”, “PocketBiek Racer”, and “Big Bumpin’”, all of which featured the new Burger King mascot. They ended up being a huge success and established BK’s presence with the younger generation and their new branding.