Burger King Revamps Menu, Plans to Sell Shares

April 6, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Burger King
A sign hangs outside a Burger King restaurant in Chicago, Ill., in this 2010 file photo. The hamburger chain said this week that it would sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK—Burger King is reinventing itself, and it is giving the public a chance to share in its success.

The hamburger chain—recently deposed to the No. 3 spot among the biggest hamburger chains in the United States by Wendy’s—said this week that it would sell its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.

The U.S. initial public offering (IPO) will occur in the next 60 to 90 days, the company said.

Big Changes

Burger King is in the midst of major changes.

First of all, the fast-food chain fired its longtime king mascot in a rebranding effort. It has also spent millions in remodeling its venues across the United States.

Earlier this week, Burger King rolled out its new menu—with the biggest menu changes in the chain’s history. Additions include items such as snack wraps, garden salads, and fruit smoothies. If these items sound similar to the foods listed on rival McDonald’s menu, that’s exactly what Burger King was aiming for.

“Consumers wanted more choices,” said Steve Wiborg, president of Burger King’s U.S. business, in a release. “Not just healthy choices, but choices they could get at the competition.”

The Miami-based Burger King is also ditching the paper wrappers for Whopper hamburgers and choosing the more traditional cardboard cartons. These changes are similar to the ones made by McDonald’s over the last five years and should appeal to a more health-conscious and varied clientele.

New Company

The decision to go public comes after current owner, private equity firm 3G Capital, sold a 29 percent stake in Burger King to British firm Justice Holdings. As part of the deal, Justice will rename itself as Burger King Worldwide Inc. and list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. 3G will remain majority owner with a 71 percent stake.

The decision for 3G to partially cash out is not surprising, but the timing is. 3G took Burger King private in late 2010 and has worked on remodeling the chain’s restaurants, revamping its menu, and improving its operations in an effort to generate a return on investment in an IPO in 2013.

However, a partnership with Justice, which was co-founded by New York hedge fund manager William Ackman, was too enticing to pass up.

“I brought the opportunity to my Justice founding partners to consider,” Ackman said in a statement on Wednesday. “They liked what I saw—a 58-year-old global brand and a simple, predictable, free cash flow growth franchise in the process of transformation into a pure brand royalty business. The results to date have been remarkable.”