Next-Gen Burger Kings Will Rock a Bold Look

Next-Gen Burger Kings Will Rock a Bold Look

Stores’ Edgy ‘Sizzle’ Design Goes Heavy on Whopper Branding 

Burger King is rolling out a hip redesign of its restaurants called “Sizzle.” Two sites – one in New Jersey and one in Las Vegas – already have been remodeled a la Sizzle, although the fast-food brand didn’t officially unwrap the new look until its franchisee convention in early October, according to a CNN Business report.

Whopper branding dominates the aesthetics, and the modernized amenities include streamlined drive through and pickup lanes plus digital ordering kiosks, CNN reported. “We’re going to lean in where the most of our business comes in, which is the drive-through,” Tom Curtis, president of Burger King U.S. & Canada, told CNN. Burger King isn’t unique in that regard: Drive-through lanes generate 70% of fast-food sales, translating to billions of dollars each month for the industry, according to Quantum Real Estate Advisors.

More Sizzle

Burger King’s new store concept had been anticipated since 2022, when the brand revealed plans to spend $400 million for business enhancements. Plans called for $250 million of that amount to be dedicated to remodeling and other restaurant upgrades.

Curtis said the brand devoted more than a year to the development of Sizzle. Another Sizzle will launch this month in North Carolina, he said, and more will open throughout 2024.  

Burger King Sizzle

Other parts of the brand’s recent refresh have extended to a new logo and packaging along with a high-profile marketing campaign featuring a reimagined version of its catchy 1974 “Have It Your Way” jingle in advertising and on social media. With the jingle, Burger King re-emphasized that customer can tailor their Whopper Burgers as desired. Next year, the marketing focus will shift to highlight the Whopper’s smoky flavor in its advertising, CNN reported.

Franchisees Gearing Up… Slowly

The restaurant face-lifts have proceeded slowly while franchisees, who operate most of the brand’s locations, work toward obtaining building permits and lining up contractors in advance of the remodeling projects, Curtis told CNN. But by the end of 2024, he said about half of Burger King’s U.S. restaurants will incorporate either the Sizzle or its design predecessor, the Garden Grill, which debuted roughly a decade ago. Some stores will continue to use the Garden Grill styling as they renovate.   

Perhaps surprisingly, Curtis said old BK locations will not necessarily be emblazoned with the revamped logo that the brand unveiled in 2021. “We have very few restaurants right now with the new logo up,” Curtis told CNN. It’s a “question mark” whether old locations will use it when they remodel, he said. 

Wanted: More Burger King Customers

Burger King Sizzle

The brand’s recent refinements and marketing efforts have been part of its push to boost store traffic, but it’s been a tough slog, conceded Josh Kobza, CEO of Burger King’s parent, Restaurant Brands International. “We are still not in positive territory” on bringing in more customers, he said in August of this year. 

Year-over-year sales proceeds improved domestically (8.3%) and globally (10.2%, including U.S. sales) in the second quarter of 2023. But those revenue increases have been attributed to people spending more, mainly because of higher menu prices, rather than more feet coming in the doors and more cars moving through the drive-through lanes. 

Photos: Burger King

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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