Burger King’s Organizational Structure Analysis

Burger King organizational structure characteristics advantages disadvantages case study and analysis
A Burger King restaurant in Kuwait. Burger King’s organizational structure changes to support high global business performance. (Photo: Public Domain)

Burger King’s organizational structure has changed through the years, especially because of leadership and ownership transitions. A company’s organizational structure defines the composition and system used for its business activities. Burger King must adjust its corporate structure over time to address changes in its business environment. As one of the biggest quick service/fast food restaurant chains in the world, Burger King has recently improved its performance through reforms in its organizational structure. The company was reorganized as a result of its merger with the Canadian firm Tim Hortons in 2014. This reorganization led to major changes in Burger King’s organizational structure to suit new strategies to grow the business globally.

Burger King’s organizational structure is based on a centralized approach that aims to establish control and increase management effectiveness. Burger King has experienced growth following reorganization, indicating the suitability of its current structure.

Features of Burger King’s Organizational Structure

Burger King has a centralized functional organizational structure. Burger King merged with Tim Hortons to form Restaurant Brands International (RBI) in 2014. The company changed its structure in the process. At present, Burger King’s organizational structure has the following main characteristics:

  1. Global centralization
  2. Functional groups
  3. Geographic divisions

Global Centralization. This characteristic of Burger King’s organizational structure maintains a core management team that makes most of the major decisions for the global organization. In 2001, then CEO John Dasburg reformed Burger King’s organizational structure from a decentralized one to a globally centralized structure. The purpose of this change was to ensure that the new organizational structure supported Burger King’s efforts in improving management effectiveness and business performance.

Functional Groups. Burger King’s organizational structure has function-based groups that span the global organization. This feature of the organizational structure refers to basic business functions like human resource management, legal, and IT. For example, Burger King has a Senior Vice President (SVP) for Global Operations, an Executive Vice President (EVP) for Finance, and an EVP who functions as the Global Chief Marketing Officer.

Geographic Divisions. Despite the reorganization efforts in 2001 and 2014, Burger King’s organizational structure has geographic divisions as a tertiary characteristic. This feature of the organizational structure divides operations according to their geographic locations. For example, the following are Burger King’s geographic divisions, each of which is headed by an Executive Vice President:

  1. North America
  2. Europe, Middle East and Africa
  3. Latin America and the Caribbean
  4. Asia Pacific

Burger King’s Organizational Structure Advantages & Disadvantages

Burger King’s organizational structure has the advantage of strong global control because of the centralization and functional group characteristics. In addition, the geographic divisions are a feature that enables Burger King to maintain a certain degree of flexibility to address market differences. However, the main disadvantage of Burger King’s organizational structure is that the centralization feature limits the flexibility of geographic divisions to immediately respond to regional or local market changes and trends.

References
  • Burger King Corporation (2015). About Us.
  • Child, J. (1972). Organizational structure, environment and performance: The role of strategic choice. Sociology6(1), 1-22.
  • Markides, C. C., & Williamson, P. J. (1996). Corporate diversification and organizational structure: A resource-based view. Academy of Management journal39(2), 340-367.
  • Martin, R., Muuls, M., de Preux, L. B., & Wagner, U. J. (2012). Anatomy of a paradox: Management practices, organizational structure and energy efficiency. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management63(2), 208-223.
  • Restaurant Brands International (2015). Executive Team.
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