Burger King’s Stakeholders: CSR & ESG Analysis

Burger King stakeholders, corporate social responsibility CSR, ESG, corporate citizenship, sustainability, restaurant business ethics case study
A Burger King restaurant in Guaruja, Brazil. Burger King’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and ESG strategy effectively accounts for stakeholders’ interests, although there is room for improvement. (Photo: Public Domain)

Burger King’s position as one of the major competitors in the global fast-food restaurant industry comes with expectations on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG). These expectations relate to Burger King’s main stakeholders. Theory indicates that businesses affect stakeholder groups that also influence business performance in return. Sustainability and other outcomes of CSR and ESG programs ensure competitiveness despite the strategic issues illustrated in the Five Forces analysis of Burger King. Competition with McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, Dunkin’, Starbucks, and other foodservice companies warrants effective stakeholder management for the purpose of optimizing competitive advantages. By integrating the interests of these stakeholder groups into strategic formulation, Burger King can expect optimized business opportunities for long-term global growth and expansion.

Burger King’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy involves programs that address the interests and demands of its most important stakeholder groups. The fast-food restaurant chain adjusts its corporate citizenship strategies and programs to account for market changes that influence stakeholders, such as the industry trends noted in the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis of Burger King. In addition, the foodservice company’s CSR and ESG strategies use effective business strengths and competencies. For example, the SWOT analysis of Burger King refers to the strength of the company’s market presence, which enables effective communication with target stakeholder groups regarding corporate social responsibility topics, such as corporate citizenship, business ethics, and sustainability.

Burger King’s Stakeholders & CSR/ESG Initiatives

Burger King’s corporate social responsibility activities are based on a set of prioritizations, which are indicated in the company’s stakeholder-driven approach: Food, People, Environment and Corporate Governance. Based on this CSR and ESG approach, Burger King’s stakeholder groups are as follows, arranged according to significance and priority level:

  1. Customers (highest priority)
  2. Employees at corporate offices and restaurants
  3. Communities
  4. Investors

Customers. Burger King considers customers as the top-priority stakeholders. This stakeholder group is interested in quality food and beverage products and reasonable pricing. In CSR and ESG strategy, customers are significant because they directly determine the revenues of Burger King in terms of demand and purchases. In response to these interests, Burger King’s corporate social responsibility activities ensure quality food and drinks and transparency in communicating with customers. For example, the company publishes detailed nutrition facts regarding its menu items. Based on these considerations, Burger King’s corporate social responsibility activities satisfactorily address the interests of customers as the top stakeholder group. The corporate citizenship activities for this stakeholder group align with Burger King’s corporate mission and corporate vision, which establish goals for customer satisfaction.

Employees. Employees are the second-priority stakeholders in Burger King’s approach to corporate social responsibility. The interests of this stakeholder group are career opportunities and fair compensation. Employees are significant in ESG and CSR planning because they affect how Burger King performs in terms of productivity, quality of service, efficiency, and sustainability. For workers’ interests, Burger King’s organizational culture (company culture) emphasizes meritocracy. For example, employees’ performance is accounted for in rewards and their career opportunities. With this organizational culture, Burger King’s corporate social responsibility strategy effectively integrates the interests of employees as stakeholders.

Communities. Burger King recognizes the importance of communities as stakeholders. The interest of this stakeholder group is support for community development. In influencing CSR and ESG programs, communities are significant in terms of their influence on consumer perception and employee perception, which are included in public relations in Burger King’s marketing mix (4P). The firm addresses these interests through the Burger King Foundation. For example, the foundation offers funds for educational and related programs in communities. Based on these considerations, Burger King’s corporate social responsibility and corporate citizenship efforts suitably include a major arm for community development to address the interests of this stakeholder group.

Investors. Investors are a fundamental stakeholder group in the quick service restaurant business. These stakeholders are interested in Burger King’s higher financial performance. Investors are significant because they affect the availability of capital to the foodservice business. In Burger King’s CSR and ESG case, these interests are effectively addressed through strategic realignment for multinational business growth. The company’s operations as a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International provide expertise in strategic planning for successful financial performance. Along with Burger King’s competitive strategy and growth strategies, the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy fulfills the concerns and interests of investors as a major stakeholder group.

Burger King’s CSR & ESG Performance in Addressing Stakeholders’ Interests

Burger King’s corporate social responsibility programs are designed to satisfy the interests of the firm’s major stakeholders. The approach that prioritizes customers is appropriate in supporting the company’s aim to grow its foodservice market share. However, ESG and CSR efforts for communities are an area of improvement for Burger King. For example, the company can implement non-educational programs, such as livelihood programs to boost community development. The company can also integrate strategies for ethical, sustainable, and green operations into its corporate citizenship efforts to enhance its corporate and brand image and improve the profitability of its foodservice business.