Industry News | January 21, 2005

Burger King Corp. Takes Reality TV to the Next Level

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During Thursday's season premiere of "The Apprentice," Trump's management team served up a mammoth task to the latest crop of contestants: name, build, market, and sell a new menu item at BURGER KING® restaurants. What the Trump trainees didn't know is that Burger King Corporation would actually flip for the winning burger—the Western Angus Steak Burger—and begin serving it nationwide the next day.

As the smoke cleared atop Trump Tower, Burger King restaurants from coast to coast began to prepare for the fastest new product launch in the company's 50-year history.

"At Burger King, our HAVE IT YOUR WAY® philosophy puts our customers in charge. It's all about empowerment and getting what you want, when you want it," says Russ Klein, chief marketing officer, Burger King Corporation. "That's why we couldn't wait even a day to take this burger from the boardroom to the lunchroom."

The Task

Faced with a meaty challenge, teams "Street Smarts" and "Book Smarts" beefed up their knowledge of the fast-food industry by completing a substantial food safety and restaurant management-training course. Teams then consulted with Burger King Corporation chief concept officer Denny Post and senior director, product innovation, Chef Calvin Harris to develop a marketing campaign with support from Burger King Corporation's promotional agency. Finally, each team took charge of a different Manhattan Burger King restaurant, running all operations and sales for the day.

During their stint, the winning "Street Smarts" team used their natural know-how to turn their new product into a cash cow, avoiding a trip to the boardroom and a heated showdown with "The Donald."

The Western Angus Steak Burger is to be available only through Feb. 4.