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» Burger King To Get “Edgy” Makeover
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Burger King To Get “Edgy” Makeover

By • Oct 13th, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog

“The Home of the Whopper” is getting a whopper of a renovation.  Burger King has announced plans to give its 12,000 locations around the world a dramatic new look that’s being described with decidedly non-fast-food adjectives like “edgy” and “futuristic.”

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The chain’s new design, codenamed “20/20,” will introduce upscale features like rotating red flame chandeliers, LCD menu screens, game kiosks for kids, free Wi-Fi, and loads of brick and stainless steel.  A prototype tested in a Houston suburb also included an outdoor patio and a waterfall.

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If it seems like a far cry from your ordinary fast-food joint, that’s by design.  BK seems to be following the trend started by many of the emerging names in the fast-casual boom by mimicking their industrial-chic decor.  Check out the interior shots from Burger Jones in Minneapolis and Cheeseburger Bobby’s in Atlanta.  Look a little bit familiar?

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Ron Paul, president of food consultant company Technomic Inc. cited Starbucks, Panera, and Chipotle as further examples.  “People in the fast-food category are recognizing they’ve been losing customers to the fast-casual player,” he said in an AP interview.  “What this sounds like is an attempt to get that dining-in business back by making it an attractive environment.”

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But the makeover isn’t just a cosmetic one.  The 20/20 redesign also outfits BK’s kitchens with energy-efficient “flexible batch broilers,” which will allow the chain to serve extra-thick burgers, grilled chicken and fish sandwiches, even bone-in ribs!

About 60 stores already have the new look, with another 75 set to open by the end of 2010.  A full chainwide conversion will take some time, though, as franchisees will fork out $300,000 to $600,000 per restaurant for all that glitz and glamour.  But you have to spend money to make money, as the saying goes, and the restaurants that have already been revamped have seen sales climb by as much as 15%.  And stores that have been torn down and completely rebuilt from the ground up using the new design have seen their sales shoot up as much as 30%.

I guess it really is good to be the king.

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