Burger King and the Whopper Bar
Burger King has been a fixture on the fast food scene for many years. During this time period, the general concept of Burger King as a traditional fast food establishment has not changed. However, with the advent of the new “Whopper Bar” in Universal Orlando, a dramatic marketing change has occurred.
The motivating factor behind the “Whopper Bar” concept is re-branding. This is somewhat unique since the Whopper has long since been branded by Burger King many decades ago. Granted, while it Burger King and its trademark Whopper have been successfully branded, they have also been pigeonholed as traditional takeout and fast food. However, the world of restaurant dining has changed dramatically over the years. Namely, there are other food service entities competing for the same market share and consumers that Burger King seeks to attract. The growth of sushi restaurants, for example, has led to increased competition. As such, Burger King now tries a new marketing strategy that is intended to capture the attention of customers who find sushi bars appealing.
To further add to the sushi-bar like environment “customize their Whopper…with up to 22 different toppings…. Burger King [employees] will add the toppings in front of customers for a sushi bar-like atmosphere.” (AP, 2009) Obviously, Burger King is working very hard to re-brand itself on a microcosmic level so that it can deal with competition.
There are plans to expand the Whopper Bar concept to hundreds of locations. This would clearly expand Burger Kings market share as the chain would be able to open smaller sized stores in malls or venues that it would not otherwise be able to. Also,
Burger King and the Whopper Bar 3
Burger King sets itself apart greatly from McDonald’s since the “Golden Arches” does not offer anything comparable to the Whopper Bar.
Of course, this all raises the question is this a good idea? The answer to the question is a resounding yes. Burger King truly does deserve a great deal of credit for tweaking its brand image in order to develop further brand equity in the market. It also deserves praise for having the foresight to realize there are newer generations of customers who may look at the concept of a traditional Burger King as outdated and a symbol of the past. By integrating the modern and popular imagery of a sushi bar, Burger can now tap into a market it may have otherwise been unable to attract.
However, “breaking with the orange and red color scheme of other Burger Kings, it will be done in red, black and gray” (AP, 2009) may prove to be a mistake. To completely disassociate from the recognizable brand colors may be a bit much. Such a radical departure creates the impression Burger King is attempted to hide itself. Needless to say, this won’t work. Once you look at the menu, you will know it is a Burger King. Additionally, changing the colors may negatively impact those who already exhibit brand loyalty to Burger King. Actually, they may very well walk past the Whopper Bar without even realizing it was a Burger King. While it is brilliant that Burger King is seeking a new customer demographic, it should not seek these new customers at the expense of old ones.
In summation, the Whopper Bar concept is a brilliant – albeit slightly risky – means of tweaking brand equity to attract new customers. Time will tell if it works, but it does look like a successful concept.
Associated Press, (2009 March 10). Burger King launching ‘Whopper Bar’ concept. MSNBC Online, Retrieved 2009 March 21, from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29617779/