Burger King is one of the most popular and well-known fast-food burger chains.
Burger King locations are found around the world, too.
They are known for being “royalty” with many of the commercials centering on a king who eats burgers.
Of course, they’re also the home of the Whopper.
Why is it that they’re so expensive?
Are their burgers worth it?
Do they offer more than what some of the other fast-food chains do?
All of those questions are answered by reviewing some of the top reasons that Burger King is so expensive.
Why Is Burger King So Expensive?
Burger King is expensive when you compare it to some of the other fast-food chains out there.
However, when you start to look at the size of the food, the quality, and other components, you can start to understand the costs a bit more.
1. The Menu Is Evolving
The menu at Burger King is always evolving to ensure that there are new and attractive items for people to order.
While many people are going to continue to order the things they know and love, such as Croissan’wiches for breakfast and Whoppers for lunch and dinner, many people desire change and variety.
There are entire teams at Burger King’s headquarters that are responsible for researching food trends.
This is how the Impossible Whopper was born.
It’s also how the Oreo Cookie Shake was born and many of the other favorites on the menu came about.
Once an idea is discovered, it is tested in local markets.
The cost of research and development can be an expensive one.
However, people are willing to pay a little bit more for something new and different.
The massive quantities produced by BK also make it possible to keep the costs lower than if you were to get those items at a fast-casual restaurant.
To keep costs in check, the most popular items remain on the menu.
Other items are removed or introduced periodically.
This ensures that the local BK stores don’t have to maintain too large of an inventory.
When new menu items do show up, there’s a cost involved.
It isn’t just the cost of the food itself but also the marketing and packaging that goes along with it.
This means that anytime you see commercials for a new product at BK, you can expect to pay a bit more to try it.
2. Supply And Demand
There’s a phenomenon in economics known as supply and demand that will impact the prices that you pay at Burger King as well as anywhere else.
When there’s a large demand for something, prices usually go up.
Additionally, if supply dwindles for something, prices go up.
Certain fresh produce is particularly a problem when it comes to supply and demand.
If there’s been a drought, it can lead to fewer heads of lettuce, smaller crops of tomatoes, and more.
As such, farmers and produce companies will charge more for what they were able to produce so that they can maintain their own profit margins.
Burger King may be a large corporation, but they still have to pay the market prices for certain items that are needed to make the menu items.
Hamburger buns and fresh produce are purchased locally.
When there’s low supply or high demand, the costs will be higher.
The reality is that no local Burger King chain is going to risk not making a profit.
Therefore, they raise their prices to compensate for the higher costs that they have to pay.
It makes your burger and fries more expensive, but the burger and fries would be more expensive anywhere because all restaurants are subject to supply and demand issues.
3. Fresh Ingredients
When you walk into a Burger King, you can smell what’s going on.
That is because of the fresh ingredients that are used.
BK sets itself apart from many of the other fast-food chains by using high-quality ingredients.
The restaurant uses 100% beef, real ice cream, and even real American and cheddar cheeses.
The cost of fresh ingredients is more expensive than the processed ones and the ones that use artificial fillers.
You have to ask yourself what you would rather eat: fresh ingredients or processed ones?
If you’d prefer the taste of something fresher, you’ll spend a bit more.
Otherwise, you can choose to eat at some of the other fast-food chains that have cheaper prices.
The cost of the fresh ingredients can vary by season.
When certain produce is out of season, they have to pay more to have it shipped from other parts of the country.
Burger King isn’t adjusting their prices weekly or monthly like local burger places might.
Instead, they absorb a significant cost.
Then, semi-annually, there may be a small adjustment in the menu prices.
4. New Technology
Technology can be seen throughout Burger King.
They have a comprehensive website and mobile app, and that takes money to develop and maintain.
Even in the stores, you’ll see technology.
Associates use computers to take orders.
These computers are advanced.
They make it easy to ring everything up while allowing you to get your burger done your way.
If you want to hold an ingredient or want more of an ingredient, employees can handle that with ease.
Many drive-thru lanes will also feature computer monitors.
These allow you to see your order before they start making it.
If there’s an error, you can correct it.
These monitors are expensive to buy and maintain.
However, it adds to the customer service experience.
It also prevents the likelihood of your order being wrong when you get to the pick-up window.
Different technology is found throughout the kitchens.
Have you ever wondered why fries are never burnt?
It’s because the fryers are programmed.
Employees touch a button based on the menu item they’re putting in the oil.
The baskets will come out of the fryer automatically when the time is up.
This reduces waste and ensures that fries are cooked perfectly every time.
There’s also an Insta-broiler that will cook 12 burgers at a time.
Other tech helps to make milkshakes and other items on the menu.
While you may not think that it’s fair for Burger King to charge you for their new technology, it is part of the experience.
The technology allows you to get your order quickly so that you don’t have to wait.
Think of it as paying for convenience as opposed to technology.
5. Advertising Campaigns
If you’ve ever sung along to the Burger King jingle of “Have it your way,” you know that it’s quite the catchy tune.
For decades, BK fans have been singing, “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce…”
Advertising is a costly endeavor.
Although you may know about Burger King without the advertising, the campaigns continue.
The reason is to remain relevant.
They want to ensure that you are going to choose them as opposed to their competition.
Additionally, as they add pricier items to the menu, they want to ensure they’re enticing you to buy them.
Any time a company does a lot of heavy advertising, you will end up paying for it.
It’s all factored into the cost of doing business.
Since the company maintains profit margins, it gets added to the menu items in one way or another.
You’ll find that Burger King spends money on social media ads, TV ads, radio spots, billboards, and even product placement in TV shows and movies.
As they generate new campaigns featuring relevant celebrities and new jingles, it will cost more advertising dollars.
There’s no way of knowing how much BK spends.
However, you can expect that it will affect the cost of your Whopper in one way or another.
6. Employee Training
Training is extensive at Burger King.
There are all sorts of different employees who need to receive the training, too.
You have cashiers, fry cooks, janitors, managers, and more.
Each type of employee has to receive a different type of on-the-job training.
Beyond learning how to do the job, there’s also basic corporate training.
This teaches employees about the Burger King mission, how to provide a certain level of customer service, and even how to work safely.
Every time an employee is hired, there’s an onboarding process.
Employees have to learn their job using videos, handbooks, and shadowing another employee.
Unfortunately, many people who work at a fast-food restaurant are not looking for a long-term job.
As such, there is a high turnover rate.
Any time there is high employee turnover, there’s a higher cost for training.
This is because there’s the need to train even more employees.
Additional training is included throughout the year.
There may be training on new menu items, sexual harassment, or even diversity training.
All of this training is a cost that the BK locations must endure, which is passed on to you as the customer.
7. Employee Wages & Benefits
The cost of labor is a significant component of the expenses a Burger King must endure.
At any given time, several employees are working to make your food.
Additionally, there’s the cost of managers as well as the cost of operating corporate headquarters.
Wages are on the rise.
Everywhere you look, cities and states are increasing minimum wage rates.
In an effort to be competitive, BK will pay more than that wage, when possible.
This means that there may be hundreds of dollars spent per hour just to make it possible for employees to take orders and make the various meals.
The wages and benefits will vary based on the job.
With so many opportunities within the restaurant, it’s easy for employees to get the kinds of benefits they want.
Additionally, BK focuses on being competitive with the other fast-food chains in the country.
Beyond the hourly wage or salary, employees are given quite a few benefits.
Hourly employees will enjoy such benefits as free meals, free uniforms, and access to medical insurance.
They will also have paid time off, including vacation and sick time.
Salaried employees will get access to more benefits.
This can include 401(k), tuition reimbursement, and more.
Burger King stands out by also offering employee assistance programs, recognition programs, and leadership programs.
Their goal is to help employees succeed in life as well as within their careers.
They look to promote from within, which means that they will spend more on training to ensure employees are the very best that they can be.
8. Burger Patties Are Bigger
Burger King may be more expensive, but it’s also because they’re giving you more.
The burger patties are bigger than the competition.
Most of the burgers are made with a quarter-pound beef patty.
That equals four ounces.
The average burger chain will use three-ounce burger patties.
Depending on the specific menu item, the burgers are stacked on top of one another.
If you get a triple Whopper, you’re actually getting 12 ounces of meat.
With bigger burger patties comes the need for bigger and stronger buns.
You can’t stack 12 ounces of meat onto just any burger bun.
The bun will collapse because of the sheer weight.
This means they have to spend more on higher-quality buns.
It allows you to eat with confidence knowing that the burger won’t fall apart halfway through.
Bigger burger patties also mean more cheese and more condiments.
If you were to put a BK burger alongside burgers from other top chains, you’d see that there are often more pickles, more ketchup, more mustard, and even more of the other toppings.
It makes for a more expensive burger, but it makes it a tastier one, too.
It will fill you up, allowing you to get just one burger.
9. Profit Margins Are High
Burger King is in business to make a profit. It’s one of the principles of any business: manage the budget effectively enough to make a profit.
The profit margins at Burger King are a bit higher than at other chains.
It means that the people at the top are making more money.
It also means that there’s more money to spend on technology, research and development, and other things.
It’s how BK remains as competitive as they do.
All the reasons you like BK stem from the fact that they operate with high-profit margins.
There are three components of the spending areas of a budget: food, labor, and consumables.
As these things become more expensive, there’s the need to ensure that the revenue line item is capable of covering all of these costs.
By increasing the cost of the menu items, the revenue line grows.
It also ensures that there’s enough money left over to create the desired amount of profit.
While BK tries not to raise prices too often, some it is out of their hands because of the cost of labor and food.
Other restaurants are using the same basic operating principles.
The only difference is that some restaurants will choose to make cuts in the food or labor to compensate.
They’ll keep their menu prices the same, but the food quality may drop, or the level of customer service may drop.
Burger King maintains high expectations on all levels, so they’ll charge more to keep those things where they are.
While it may mean that they’re more expensive, you’ll have a better overall experience as well.
10. There’s Food For Everyone
Burger King has worked hard to become inclusive.
This means that they try to cater their menu so that everyone can enjoy the fast food.
This includes children, adults, families, and even vegans.
Offering a large variety of food can lead to higher costs within each restaurant.
Higher costs will always translate to higher-priced menu items.
The good news is that you can go to the drive-through and confidently order something for everyone.
The Impossible Whopper is made with plant protein, and it has been wildly popular since its release because it is one of the first fast-food burgers that isn’t made with beef.
While it’s a little bit more expensive than the standard Whopper, it is considerably cheaper than many of the plant-based proteins available in stores.
Packaging has gotten fancier to accommodate the food for everyone, too.
Family bundles are now offered at Burger King, making it easy to order a single menu item to feed the entire family.
While other fast-food chains have been doing this for years, Burger King has just caught on to its popularity.
The “King” and the “Crown” are both options, offering burgers, nuggets, fries, drinks, and even dessert.
Since the package contains food for many, it requires different packaging.
This can be costly, though it also offers convenience.
Most people are willing to pay for the convenience, so Burger King raises the prices without people being too heavily bothered by it.
Creating A Royal Perks Account
Burger King has recognized that they’re more expensive than some would like for fast food.
As a result, they’ve created a Royal Perks account for loyalty.
You can create the account on the BK app or on the website.
This allows you to get various promotions sent to you on a regular basis.
You’re also rewarded for the amount of money that you spend consistently at Burger King.
Therefore, if you’re loyal to this fast-food chain, you can expect to get more for your money.
You earn 10 crowns for every $1 that you spend.
You can also earn double crowns during your birthday month.
The crowns can be redeemed for various BK menu items.
Additionally, you can take advantage of upgrades periodically, allowing you to get a bigger size of fries, drinks, and other items without paying more.
How To Save Money At Burger King
Although Burger King is getting more expensive, there are ways for you to save money.
You simply have to get a little creative as to what you order.
You may also have to change your approach to ordering.
Beyond creating a Royal Perks account, look for deals locally.
Some of the deals can be found online while others will be in the form of printed coupons.
- Daily mail
- Coupon books
- School coupon cards
Many of the coupons you find will be for specific menu items.
This is the way that Burger King introduces some of its newest menu items.
It gives you the chance to try some of their featured products of saving money.
Often, the coupons are BOGO, allowing you to get two menu items for a much-reduced price.
You’ll also want to consider getting value meals and family bundles as opposed to buying everything individually.
If you want fries and a soda, you might as well get the meal.
Otherwise, you could end up paying $1 or $2 more, and there’s no reason for that.