Burger King’s Operations Management, 10 Decisions, Productivity

Burger King operations management, 10 strategic decisions, areas, and productivity, foodservice business analysis and case study
Inside a Burger King restaurant in Seoul, South Korea. The 10 critical decisions of operations management are successfully applied at Burger King to optimize productivity in all areas of the foodservice business. (Photo: Public Domain)

Burger King’s operations management (OM) involves strategies for raising the company’s status toward the top position in the global quick-service restaurant industry. As one of the major players in the industry, Burger King must address the 10 strategic decision areas of operations management. These 10 areas are basic considerations in strategic formulation for streamlined foodservice operations and unified organizational development. Burger King has appropriate strategies and tactics for the 10 strategic decisions of operations management. These strategies and tactics are based on the fast-food restaurant chain’s business nature and market conditions.

The 10 strategic decisions of operations management (OM) are carefully included in Burger King’s strategies for high productivity and performance. These strategies are a result of the restaurant company’s organizational development through the years. The resulting high productivity enhances success rates in achieving the goals linked to Burger King’s mission and vision, such as the aims for customer satisfaction through food quality. In addition, effective operations management means that the business develops optimal capabilities for competing with other foodservice companies, including Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Subway, and Starbucks.

Burger King’s Operations Management: 10 Critical Decision Areas

1. Design of Goods and Services. Burger King’s focus in this strategic decision area of operations management is to minimize costs and differentiate its products from those of competitors. For example, the company designs its menu items in such a way that cost effectiveness and productivity are maximized at its stores. This approach to operations management supports Burger King’s generic strategy for competitive advantage and intensive strategies for growth. Also, the company offers flame-grilled burgers, which are relatively uncommon in the fast-food market. Moreover, food preparation and serving are standardized throughout the restaurant chain to support cost limits and financial targets while enabling the differentiation of Burger King’s food products.

2. Quality Management. This strategic decision area involves satisfying the foodservice company’s quality standards and the quality expectations of target customers. To address this concern, Burger King’s operations management maintains product tests. The company also collects customer feedback through the My BK Experience website. Quality management helps differentiate the company from other restaurant businesses. Thus, effectiveness in this area of operations management strengthens the brand, which is one of the competitive advantages identified in the SWOT analysis of Burger King.

3. Process and Capacity Design. Burger King’s objective in this critical decision area is to implement operations management programs to maximize capacity utilization and productivity. For example, the company continuously monitors demand and sales at its restaurants worldwide. Burger King adjusts its facilities’ operations accordingly. This adjustment aligns the foodservice business and its productivity with market and industry conditions. For example, the external factors in the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis of Burger King are considered in modifying the company’s operations for adequate and efficient processes and business capacity.

4. Location Strategy. The primary operations management concern regarding location in this case is to strategically optimize foodservice market reach. Burger King’s strategy to address this decision area involves market penetration, with a focus on town centers and urban centers. Restaurant location is used as a criterion for evaluating franchise proposals. Optimal locations support the place and distribution decisions for Burger King’s marketing mix (4Ps) to maximize market reach and sales revenues.

5. Layout Design and Strategy. Burger King’s operations management emphasizes efficiency. For example, the company’s kitchen design is as compact as possible to save space while enabling worker productivity. Thus, Burger King addresses this critical decision area through efficient layouts and workflows.

6. Job Design and Human Resources. Sufficient and effective human resources are the objective in this strategic decision area of operations management. Burger King satisfies this concern through standardized training programs. The firm has field teams and Restaurant Support Centers for this purpose. Burger King’s company culture (work culture) helps motivate employees to achieve high productivity goals and business effectiveness. This culture’s emphasis on performance encourages workers’ effectiveness at the company’s quick-service restaurants. In relation to organizational culture, the design of Burger King’s organizational structure (company structure) reflects the business approach and decisions used in this area of operations management.

7. Supply Chain Management. Burger King has a global supply chain. In this critical decision area, the objective is to ensure the adequacy of supply at all times. Burger King’s operations management strategy involves consolidating supply chain activities. The fast-food restaurant chain’s materials and ingredients are supplied through this consolidated supply chain management. The company’s operations management decisions in this area also deal with the bargaining power of suppliers, as discussed in the Five Forces analysis of Burger King. For example, quality standards and related strategies applied in supply chain management ensure the company’s control over its supply network.

8. Inventory Management. This strategic decision area highlights the need for operations management practices that maximize foodservice business capacity and minimize inventory management costs. Burger King addresses this need through localized inventory practices based on restaurant performance, as well as global inventory management for moving products to various restaurant locations.

9. Scheduling. Burger King’s approach in this critical decision area is based on industry standards. For example, the company’s operations management uses automated scheduling for human resources at many of its facilities. In addition, manual scheduling is used, especially at Burger King restaurants.

10. Maintenance. Optimal operating conditions are the main foodservice business concern in this strategic decision area of operations management. For this purpose, Burger King uses industry standards and conventions. The company has dedicated maintenance teams for corporate operations, and Restaurant Support Centers for franchisees, as well as third-party service providers in various localities. Burger King’s sustainability and other CSR/ESG goals for stakeholder management depend on effective maintenance for business effectiveness and efficiency in the restaurant chain’s operations.

Productivity at Burger King

Burger King’s operations management measures productivity from different angles, such as those of the franchisees, corporate headquarters, and regional facilities. The goal is to maximize productivity while minimizing corresponding costs. The following are some notable productivity metrics at Burger King:

  1. Revenues per restaurant (restaurant productivity)
  2. Revenues per region (productivity in regional markets)
  3. Meals served (general productivity for process evaluation)
  4. Documents processed per year (Burger King’s corporate office productivity)