Woman Discovers Why Burger King Is Shutting Down Restaurants After Trying 3 Locations in NYC

By: Beth Moreton | Published: May 06, 2024

With Burger King continuing to shut down hundreds of its restaurants yearly, one Business Insider reporter knows why.

Even though the fast-food giant generates billions of dollars in revenue, the reporter believes closing so many restaurants is necessary to prioritize quality over quantity.

Burger King Is Shutting Down 400 Outlets

In 2023, Burger King revealed its plans to shut down 400 outlets.

The Burger King logo.

Source: Ismail Hadine/Unsplash

The fast food giant stuck to its promise, and by the end of 2023, coming into 2024, hundreds of its outlets had been shut down.

Burger King Closed 200 Restaurants in 2023

By the end of 2023, Burger King had closed around 200 restaurants.

A Burger King restaurant. There is a sign and logo outside the restaurant and a “24 hrs” sign.

Source: Kseniia Ilinykh/Unsplash

Before this, Burger King had 8,864 restaurants across the US, with the number of Burger King units having dropped by 2.8%.

Burger King Has a ”Reclaim the Flame” Campaign

One of the reasons behind the closures is Burger King’s “reclaim the flame” campaign.

A big whopper burger from Burger King. There are two burger buns, burger, cheese, lettuce, onions, and pickles.

Source: Food Photographer/Unsplash

The fast food giant is investing $150 million in advertising and digital media, and $250 million in restaurant technology, food equipment, and high-quality remodels.

A Business Insider Journalist Visited Three Burger King Restaurants

A Business Insider journalist visited three different Burger King locations in New York to determine why the mass closures might happen.

The outside of a Burger King restaurant. “Burger King” is in red, and the restaurant logos are next to it.

Source: Marquise de Photographie/Unsplash

She visited the Financial District store, one on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and one in Brooklyn.

Two Burger King Restaurants Had High Standards

The Financial District and Lower East Side Manhattan Burger King restaurants had higher standards than the Brooklyn one.

The outside of a Burger King restaurant. The restaurant's logo is displayed, and underneath it says, “Home of the Whopper.”

Source: Justin Wolff/Unsplash

The food was cooked to a good standard, there was a good level of cleanliness, and plenty of people enjoying their meals in the restaurant to prove that it should stay open.


The Brooklyn Burger King Was a Shock

Despite her good experiences at the other two restaurants, the journalist’s trip to the Brooklyn Burger King was entirely different.

The inside of a Burger King restaurant in Brooklyn. One set of tables and chairs is made from an old yellow car. The restaurant is empty, and photos of celebrities hang from the ceiling.

Source: @tweet_deleter/X

The cashier and customer were separated by plexiglass. The restaurant was practically empty, and its decor looked like it hadn’t been updated since the 1980s.


The Bulk of Burger King Closures Are Over

As most of the Burger King closures happened in 2023, it is believed that the bulk of these closures are now over.

A sign for Burger King in the street.

Source: Pablo de la Fuente/Unsplash

Even though more Burger King closures are set to happen in 2024, there shouldn’t be as many as in the previous year.


Burger King Is Focusing on Quality Over Quantity

A big part of Burger King closing all these restaurants is so owners can focus on quality over quantity.

A Big Whopper Burger King burger. The burger contains a seeded bun, lettuce, patty, cheese, tomatoes, gherkins, and onions.

Source: Ilya Mashkov/Unsplash

As the journalist witnessed, restaurants with very few customers and not turning enough profits are pointless in keeping open. The money can be better spent on restaurants with higher foot traffic, which are more likely to generate high profits.


Burger King’s Sales Have Increased

Since closing down restaurants with low profitability and only keeping those with high profitability, Burger King’s sales have increased.

A blue neon arrow going up against a black background.

Source: Samuel Regan-Asante/Unsplash

In just one quarter since losing hundreds of restaurants, Burger King saw a 12% sales increase, and this percentage is expected to rise further.


Burger King Employees Are Worried About Layoffs

With all these restaurant closures, some Burger King employees are worried about being laid off.

This is a view from outside a Burger King restaurant. The photo was taken inside the window, showing the tables and chairs stacked up on top of one another. The window has the Burger King logo on it.

Source: Julian Steenbergen/Unsplash

While the majority (67%) aren’t worried, others are concerned they could lose their job, with some even admitting to having taken a pay cut just to keep their job.


Changes to Burger King Are Happening Over the Next Few Years

These changes will continue at Burger King over the next few years, but only time will tell if they’re effective or otherwise.

The outside of a Burger King restaurant at night. The Burger King signs and logos are lit, and people walk past them.

Source: Murat Yavuz/Pexels

Burger King Executives have said that where they want the brand to be will not happen overnight, nor will it be an instant success. However, the expected and continuing changes are set to make huge improvements to the brand, making Burger King bigger and better than before.