Burger King Preps for Pricey Makeover

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3G Capital, which purchased Burger King earlier this month, has inherited a fixer-upper.

Burger King (Stock Quote: BKC) CEO John Chidsey told analysts last month that 85% of the fast food chain's locations will need to be remodeled at a total cost that could exceed $3 billion, reports Bloomberg. The new “20/20” redesign was introduced two years ago, and features a number of modern elements, including red-flame chandeliers and brick-and-metal walls. At the time Chidsey called the new design “contemporary, edgy, futuristic… more like an upscale restaurant,” and customers responded positively, with remodeled locations seeing a sales increase of 12%-15%.

Despite the promised sales bump, franchisees – who are contractually obligated to remodel at their own expense – have balked at the $500,000 price tag for the renovations. And it's unclear whether consumers actually place much value on interior design. When we asked readers last month what changes they'd like to see Burger King make, only two commenters had aesthetics in mind: Stephen Wenzel suggested a “complete, and I mean complete makeover of all the restaurants,” and one anonymous commenter urged the chain to “modernize the dining room.” By contrast, most of the suggestions revolved around menu items, with commenters offering such suggestions as crabcake sandwiches, better chicken tenders and upgraded beef.

The question, then, is whether BK’s new owners should invest in beautifying their restaurants, or if that money would be put to better use beefing up the menu. So readers, would a more refined look get you in the restaurant’s door, or should Burger King have its priorities elsewhere?

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