Burger King’s Organizational Structure (An Analysis)

Burger King company structure characteristics, restaurant business organizational design and corporate hierarchy chart analysis case study
A Burger King restaurant in Kuwait. Burger King’s organizational structure (company structure) adapts to support high business performance in the global foodservice industry. (Photo: Public Domain)

Burger King’s organizational structure is the result of leadership and ownership transitions. The company’s organizational structure defines the business composition and the system used for its operations. Burger King adjusts its corporate structure over time to address changes in its business environment and the strategies of competitors, like McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’, and other foodservice firms. The Five Forces analysis of Burger King shows that these competitors create tough strategic challenges in the market. As one of the biggest fast-food restaurant chains in the world, Burger King has improved its performance through reforms in its organizational structure. The foodservice company was reorganized following its merger with Tim Hortons in 2014. This reorganization and subsequent changes have made Burger King’s organizational structure suited to new strategies for multinational business growth.

Burger King’s organizational structure is based on a centralized approach that aims to establish control and increase management effectiveness. The restaurant company has experienced growth following its reorganization, indicating the suitability of its current structure. At present, this business structure enables the restaurant chain’s market position. Also, the appropriateness of this company structure supports Burger King’s mission statement and vision statement by facilitating a centralized and cohesive approach to strategic formulation and goal fulfillment.

Features of Burger King’s Organizational Structure

Burger King has a centralized functional structure. The company merged with Tim Hortons to form Restaurant Brands International (RBI) in 2014. As a subsidiary of RBI, 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 current characteristic of Burger King’s organizational structure maintains a core management team at the company’s headquarters that makes most of the major corporate decisions for the global organization. In 2001, Burger King’s business structure was reformed from a decentralized one to a globally centralized structure and hierarchy. The purpose of this change was to ensure that the new organizational structure supports the quick service restaurant chain’s efforts in improving management effectiveness and business performance. Centralization in this business structure also promotes cohesiveness in Burger King’s organizational culture (corporate culture). Today, the centralization of this company structure provides the framework for strategic implementations in the fast-food restaurant business. The implementation of Burger King’s generic competitive strategy and intensive growth strategies goes through this centralized organizational design to ensure a cohesive strategic approach throughout the organizational structure.

Functional Groups. Burger King’s organizational structure has function-based groups or departments that span the global business 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. 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. The competitive advantages identified in the SWOT analysis of Burger King are used differently to match conditions in the food and beverage markets corresponding to these divisions of the company structure. The following are Burger King’s geographic divisions:

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

Burger King’s Structure: Advantages & Disadvantages

Burger King’s organizational structure has the advantage of strong global control because of corporate centralization and functional departments or groups. In addition, the geographic divisions are a structural feature that enables business flexibility to address market differences, such as through regional menus offering different sets of food and drinks. This structural flexibility accounts for economic and social trends and the other external factors discussed in the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis of Burger King. Flexibility in this organizational structure also translates to region or country specificity in Burger King’s marketing mix (4Ps) and associated strategies and tactics. However, the main disadvantage of Burger King’s business structure is that the centralization feature limits the flexibility of geographic divisions in immediately responding to regional or local market changes and trends.