What Is Burger King’s Core Competency?

What Is Burger King’s Core Competency?Burger King ® was founded by James McLamore and David Edgerton in 1954. The Burger King® system operates approximately 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and in 73 countries and U.S. territories worldwide (Burger King, 2013). Our text defines a core competency as a special outlook, skill, capability or technology that runs through the firm’s operations, weaving together disparate vale activities into an integrated value chain (Daniels, Radebaugh, & Sullivan, 2011). Based on this definition I believe Burger King’s core competencies are the driving sales and traffic in the US and Canada, accelerating international development, aggressively pursuing refranchising opportunities and maintaining strong focus on corporate-level cost structure.
To drive sales BK decided to focus on 4 points: the menu, marketing and communication, image and operations. Unlike Burger King’s ® major competitors, McDonald’s ® and Wendy’s ®, who prepare their burgers on a flat grill which fries the meat, BK prepares their hamburgers on a flame-broiler. They also focus on expanding their menu to appeal to a wide range of demographics. In addition to expanding their menu, BK has established a driven marketing process to target these same demographics. They have created a new image in an inspired 20/20 design displaying their flame-grilled process to increase same store sales, higher profits and a strong return on investments (Burger King, 2013). They have also provided incentives to encourage franchisees to follow the remodeling efforts as well. And finally they have restructured their field teams to decrease their scope of responsibility. When the team has fewer restaurants under its scope, it can focus more on food quality, guest service, speed of service and cleanliness. Also, field members have been redesignated as business coaches. As coaches, they are responsible for guiding teams and franchisees towards their goals. Compensation for these coaches will be performance based. This ensures accountability and alignment within the franchises. They have also implemented evaluation processes that will ensure that guests’ have the best experience possible.
Another core competency is accelerating international development. BK has developed a “global portfolio realignment project” that will accelerate their international presence. They are providing opportunities for franchisees the right to develop and manage Burger King Restaurants in other countries or regions in exchange for commitments for new development and minority interest. They entered into joint ventures to introduce Burger King to growth emerging markets all over the world to include Brazil, Russia and China. In addition to international franchising opportunities, BK has also aggressively pursued opportunities to refranchise domestic and international Company restaurants to new or existing franchisees. The goal is to have the all restaurants belong to franchisees. This would increase profits and also be less capital intensive (Burger King, 2013). The final core competency is to maintain a strong focus on corporate-level cost structure. They plan to do this by maintaining a "Zero Based Budgeting" program and tying a portion of management‘s incentive compensation specifically to our G&A budget (Burger King, 2013). “Zero Based Budgeting is a method of developing an annual budget by developing each year’s budget at zero versus using last year’s base.
There were several advantages and disadvantages to globally expanding after its major competitor, McDonald’s®. Burger King was able to compound on the demand built up until that point as well as concentrate on emphasizing the product. One of the major disadvantages are the demand for suppliers. If the region has only one produce supplier, there will be limited supplies as well as the chance that the supplier is only willing to work with a small number of customers. There are also advantages and disadvantages that restaurants like BK would have in comparison with a local company when opening up shop in an international market. Local companies tend to understand the taste buds of the area. They can provide menu items and flavoring that BK may not be able to get or be knowledgeable about using. An advantage could be the opportunity to provide a new taste in the area.
About two-thirds of Burger King’s restaurants and revenues are in the United States and Canada (Burger King, 2013). A many of the remaining restaurants are in Latin America and the Caribbean. This relationship should change. There are several markets that could benefit from the opening of Burger King. Expanding into new areas could provide the international exposure that Burger King needs to move ahead of its competitors. As stated many of the remaining restaurants are in the Caribbean and Latin America. These restaurants are popular because BK is based in the Miami area which is a hub for people traveling to and from these areas.
Burger King prefers to enter countries with large numbers of youth and shopping centers. Most fast food marketing is aimed at teenagers. It focuses on things that are important to them, popularity, cool clothes, lots of friends, dating, and celebrities (eHow, 2013). Shopping centers are an easy location to exploit. All shopping centers have food courts and many young people frequent shopping centers. Also customers looking to grab a quick bite to eat are also available at anytime.
As stated earlier, the home base is in Miami. This has a very direct impact on its international expansion. This location has afforded BK the opportunity to expand in the international arena without venturing too far out of the box. It gives them an opportunity to expand into international business without the risk of operating too far away from home.
If I were CEO, I would look to expand in areas where we have already seen success. The United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Australia would be the first areas I would expand in.

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Daniels, J. D., Radebaugh, L. H., & Sullivan, D. P. (2011). International Business (13th ed.).
Upper Saddle, NJ: Prentice Hall.
eHow. (2013). Retrieved July 23, 2013, from Fast Food Marketing for Teenagers:

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