Burger King, which began in 1954 in Miami, Florida, once dominated the fast-food industry. For years, it was the second most popular burger chain in the U.S., behind only McDonald's. More recently, however, the king has come dangerously close to being usurped. COVID-19 led to a massive, business-wide struggle, with numerous closings and filings for bankruptcy coming from a number of Burger King operators. To date, the franchise simply hasn't bounced back to its former glory. "I like BK, but the numbers speak for themselves," said a Reddit user of the chain, "and just one reason why they're now #3 in the big burger chains."
Unfortunately, it's true. Burger King's longtime No. 2 spot has been stolen by Wendy's, putting it in No. 3 for most popular burger chain -- at least for the time being. This booting from the top two seems to have given the franchise a fair bit of motivation, leading to a slew of planned changes for the new year. Burger King appears to be pulling out all the stops to make 2024 the year it catches up to its competitors. From updated menu items to a shiny new restaurant design to a huge, potentially game-changing acquisition, here are some big changes coming to Burger King in 2024.
Read more: Fast Food Hamburgers Ranked Worst To Best
It's Adding A Brand-New Whopper To Its Menu
Burger King's claim to fame is undoubtedly the Whopper. The chain's well-known burger consists of a beef patty, often smothered in mayonnaise and ketchup, surrounded by a sesame seed bun and topped with tomato slices, pickles, and other popular condiments. There have been many different Whopper variants introduced to the menu over the years, such as the now-discontinued Fiesta Whopper or the rather bizarre Halloween Whopper. But 2024 has brought with it a brand new creation -- and it includes a whole lot of bacon.
The Candied Bacon Whopper is the chain's most recent burger take, employing strips of crunchy candied bacon and a sweet-tasting bacon jam along with garlic aioli and onions on a beef patty sandwiched in the traditional sesame bun. On January 29, this new, delicious-sounding burger became available at Burger King locations across the nation. Will consumers line up for this one? According to an alleged employee on a Reddit thread titled, "Employee here, the new Candied Bacon Whopper is REALLY good," the answer is yes ... yes, they will. "I had 2 of them already ... highly recommend," they declared, echoed by a chorus of agreeing responders. Pardon us while we add this one to our Burger King "to-order" list.
An Updated, Spicier Take On Its Fish Sandwich Will Be Joining The Menu As Well
What's better than a crispy, flavorful fish sandwich? A crispy, flavorful fish sandwich with a bit of a kick, of course. Just in time for the Lenten season, Burger King will be releasing a brand-new variation of its classic fish sandwich. Similar to the classic Big Fish, the Fiery Big Fish will include a cut of crispy White Alaskan Pollock, pickles, lettuce, tartar sauce, and a potato bun. The major differentiating factor in the newest fishy offering will be found in a spicy glaze, which will amp up the heat for consumers who crave it.
The only downside is that unlike the classic Big Fish sandwich -- which is available year-round -- the Fiery Big Fish will reportedly only be available for a limited time, leaving with the ending of Lent. Don't let this catch slip through your fingers; sometime between February 14 and March 28 (the official 2024 Lenten season and the expected dates for the Fiery Big Fish's official offering), swing by your local Burger King and light your mouth on fire with a fried fillet of juicy fish. The opportunity to do so, after all, won't be around forever.
It's Getting A Sizzling New Restaurant Design
It seems that most chain restaurants have updated their building designs to increase their curb appeal in an ever-modernizing world. Think of McDonald's with its sleek new grayscale stylization, or Taco Bell kicking its classic curves and colors to the curb in favor of new dark lines and angles. Now Burger King will reportedly be jumping on the modernization train as well, remodeling itself in an attempt to become more attractive to hungry passersby.
At the end of 2023, the word came down -- it was restaurant makeover time for the King. News outlets everywhere released photos of Burger King's new proposed store design, called "Sizzle"; buildings complete with subtle, sleek walls and orange and red accents. While face-lifting restaurants over time is a necessary and natural process for any business, it could be considered an especially important undertaking in the case of Burger King, a company that has traditionally lagged behind its fast food competitors in the updating department. There are only a handful of the "new" Burger Kings in operation nationwide at the time of writing, but the company's goal is to erect more and more in 2024. Customers should prepare themselves for the new look -- it could be coming to a city near you very soon.
It's Got A Brand New Acquisition Under Its Belt
As of December 5th, 2023, there were 6,778 total Burger King restaurant locations in the United States according to ScrapeHero. While many of these fall under the ownership of Restaurant Brands International Inc. -- Burger King's parent company -- a decent portion of them are owned and operated by franchisees. The largest of these is Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., which owns and operates Burger King locations across 23 states.
At least, it did until January of 2024, that is. Restaurant Brands has taken back the 1,022 locations previously run by Carrols Restaurant Group in a whopping $1 billion deal. While some of these under-performing locations are to be shut down for good, the plan is for Restaurant Brands to salvage, renovate, and remodel around 600 of the purchased locations (expectedly with the new "Sizzle" building design) and eventually resell them to driven, smaller-scale franchisees. This holds with the company's 2022 announcement to dedicate itself to clean up its business from the ground up. Still, we wish those at Restaurant Brands International, Inc. luck with this undertaking. We imagine that the rapid-fire closing, and simultaneous remodeling, of so many locations will not be a small project, to say the least.
Its Black Bean Burger Is Back ... In The U.K., At Least
With an increase in the number of people opting for plant-based protein in recent years, vegan and veggie-burger options are a valuable addition to any fast food chain's menu. And Burger King, as it works to reach greater numbers of diverse customers, decided to bring back an updated version of its previously-discontinued black bean burger in 2024 ... in the U.K., that is.
VegNews reports that Burger King's updated Ultimate Bean Burger officially hit menus in Europe on January 3, acknowledging regional consumer demand for the highly-missed protein option. Although this is hardly the first time a vegan-friendly patty has been offered up by the chain (there's a plant-based Whopper on its menu worldwide), the new Ultimate Bean Burger is likely the best plant-based variant yet, according to European consumers. "Has anyone tried the new Burger King bean burger?" asks a Reddit user recently under r/veganuk, and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. "Had one yesterday, it was a very good bean burger," confirmed one consumer, echoing the overall feel. If you happen to live somewhere near a Burger King location in the United Kingdom, consider stopping in and giving this one a taste -- there are, after all, plenty around the world who will be missing out on this tasty-sounding menu addition.
It's Offering Cardboard Crowns - And Not Just To Kids
It's one of those things many now-adults likely remember from the Burger King days of their childhoods -- the chain's famous cardboard crowns. Many of us, with a warm tinge of nostalgia, can picture putting on the paper headpiece covered in fake jewels that came alongside our meals years ago, and the joy and inexplicable excitement that came with the simple offering. Much to our own personal thrill, in 2024, Burger King will be striving to provide the same level of elation to its customers as it did in the past through -- you guessed it -- cardboard crowns.
One of the company's goals with the coming of the new year is to offer up a cardboard crown to every individual who walks in the door -- whether they be four or forty -- and to make the comment, "You rule!" This is being done in an attempt to foster engagement, conversation, laughter, and enthusiasm in the interactions between consumers and workers. It's an aim at increasing customer satisfaction, something Burger King has set its sights on as it fights to crawl its way back to relevance once again. Will cardboard crowns be the way to customer's hearts? Only time will tell.
Its Croissant Breakfast Sandwiches Are One Cent - At Least, For A Day
Occasionally, companies will do something different to catch the attention of consumers. A crazy limited-time product, a super cheap deal; anything to shake things up, get people talking, and most importantly, encourage them to walk through the door. And Burger King, starting the new year off with a bang, piggy-backed off of National Croissant Day to declare an incredible, almost unbelievable, deal. Its breakfast sandwiches utilizing croissants (aptly named the Croissan'wiches) were made available for one cent only on January 30, 2024.
The Croissan'wich lineup is an impressive one, with seven different variants offered up for breakfast-loving consumers. Mouthwatering bacon, egg, cheese, ham, and sausage combinations abound ... and with so much protein in every bite, a penny seems a jaw-dropping steal for any of these popular Burger King breakfast creations. "The croissan'wich is hands down the best fast food breakfast item," declared a consumer on Reddit, echoing the sentiment of a plethora of other individuals. We'd wager that one, or a few, of these croissant sandwich lovers made a trip to Burger King on the morning of January 30. If you missed the National Croissant Day celebration at the franchise, stay tuned. The year is young -- and we wonder what other slamming steals may be on the horizon for the coming months.
It Will Ideally Smooth Out The Mysterious Activity Surrounding Its Whopper Wednesday That Has Many Consumers Confused And Angry
The most celebrated deal coming out of Burger King is its "Whopper Wednesday" -- one day every week in which a Whopper can be snagged at a discounted price. Recently, there has been noticeable confusion surrounding this special day which seems to be stemming from the chain's mobile app. On a recent Reddit thread, a poster describes a strange scenario that occurred when trying to order a burger from the Burger King app. "On the first Wednesday of 2024, I noticed the Whopper Wednesday offer had changed. $3.49, but fine, must be my area or something, right?" they begin. "I try to look for the Impossible Whopper option and it's not there. I tell my girlfriend [...] She tells me that she had the option on her account, and was the same $3. Here's where it gets weird. I make another account, suddenly Whopper Wednesday is $3 again, with the choice between Original or Impossible. I picked up the food without incident."
Weird Whopper-related scenarios were confirmed by other responding users, as well, with some describing how different prices sometimes show up on their phones versus their friends' for pickup at the same restaurant location. Some speculate it's an app glitch, others relating it to potential perks for veteran app users. Either way, let's hope the franchise fixes these inconsistencies surrounding the previously stable "Whopper Wednesday" price in 2024.
It Will Continue To Fix Well-Known Glitches Associated With Its App
Burger King took a vow in 2022 to spend its next few years fixing some of the major identified problems within the company. While this included things like closing troublesome restaurant locations and sprucing up existing ones through renovations, it also encompassed working on improving its mobile app. A reported $30 million out of the company's $400 million budget set aside for fixing was intended to go specifically toward technological app advancements, as reported by CNBC. Considering all the problems consumers have been facing with the Burger King mobile app, it appears that this would be money and effort well-spent.
Burger King app glitches are so common, they've inspired countless threads and discussions on various online platforms. Some report receiving extra condiments they should have been charged for for free, while others claim that their orders won't go through at all. One TikTok post features a description reading, "Burger King, your app hasn't worked in months. What's up?" "Facts," echoed a responding user. All of this publicized discontent leaves us to wonder if 2024 is the year Burger King will fix these issues for good. For customer satisfaction, we certainly hope it does, anyway.
Its Prices May Continue To Rise As Wages For Employees Do, Too
It's a hot topic in the food industry and the world: minimum wage. Employees at places like McDonald's, Chipotle, and -- yes -- Burger King, are enjoying higher earnings. Salary.com reports that the average hourly wage for a Burger King cashier sits around $17, but can be as high as $19. Considering the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that $7.25 was the federal minimum wage in the United States in 2018, it's easy to see how drastically paychecks have increased in a short amount of time.
But skyrocketing wages come at a cost -- literally. To fill employee checks, the prices of the food products themselves must also go up. "At the local BKs, prices jumped on many items by more than 10% [...] last week," said an aggravated consumer on Reddit. "That's on top of all the price increases over the past year+ and the decimation of the value menu." Many responded with angry comments, calling out the chain for overpriced, lukewarm food. One user, however, brought up a valid point: "I think part of the problem is that wages have increased so much that places are reducing the number of staff. Cutting staff results in longer waits, poor service, cold food, and dried out food." It's a reality consumers should be prepared for; you may likely see the dollar amount beside your favorite menu item sliding upward in 2024 to support the individual preparing it.
It Will Continue To Hone In On Its Reclaim The Flame Initiative
Seeing as Burger King's progress has been sliding backward in recent years, at some point, it dawned on corporate that the franchise would need to make some changes if it wanted to remain competitive in the fast-food scene. That's why, in 2022, Burger King announced its "Reclaim the Flame" initiative to the world -- a strategy that would entail a $400 million investment in upgrading locations and closing under-performing ones, bettering its marketing, focusing on its apps, and improving customer satisfaction.
The plan was expected to take two years -- and here we are in 2024, in what should be the final moments before "Reclaim the Flame" reaches its anticipated finish line. If you start seeing new, spiffy Burger Kings popping up in your city, increased ads for mouthwatering burgers and sandwiches, much-needed changes to your mobile app, or a shiny new offering under your user rewards, remember: It's "Reclaim the Flame" you have to thank. We have to give it to the Burger King franchise -- it is working tirelessly to keep hold of its fast-food industry throne. Will the plan do as it was intended in the long run, and refuel the fire beneath the burger company's grills? We guess we'll have to watch how the year unfolds to find out.
Read the original article on Mashed.