EXCLUSIVE: Matt Bresnahan Burger King Interview
Burger Lad® does it yet again. This time we have an exclusive interview with one of the very top people at Burger King. And of course we just had to ask about that story that won’t go away in the tabloids at the moment… is there really a secret menu!?
Matt Bresnahan joined BURGER KING® in 2011 and is currently Marketing Director for Northern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Below is an exclusive transcript of the Q&A we had recently…
1. You recently brought back a variation of the Mushroom Swiss due to customer demand. Will there be more of an opportunity for BK fans to ask for new menu items? Possibly via Social Media or online polls?
The BURGER KING® brand has a long, rich history steeped in the ability to customize your meal and “Have it Your Way.” The success of our business relies on providing our guests with the great-tasting products they crave. If we see a strong demand for a previous product, we will absolutely consider reintroducing it – as we have shown with the Mushroom Swiss. Other examples include our Summer BBQ menu offering, which we have recently brought back following a successful launch last year, and the international fan favourite, Chicken Fries. The global call for the return of Chicken Fries was driven through social media channels and we’re watching those conversations closely.
2. I’ve seen a few tweets asking about the Pizza Burger which was on-sale in the NY Whopper Bar and Japan. Due to the high calorie count and obvious PR nightmare this would be, I assume this is something we won’t see in the UK?
BURGER KING® restaurants are a place where you can enjoy great-tasting products that meet your personal lifestyle – whether that be your craving for something new and different, an indulgence, a better for you option, or a value conscious item or meal. We pride ourselves on having a menu that meets differing guest preferences, which sometimes vary from market to market. The offerings that are available in the UK have proven to appeal to our guests in this particular market, and thus far we have seen little demand to bring the Pizza Burger here.
3. There are always global variations at BK such as the A1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger and the “Black and White” burgers in the Far East. Is there any hope of the UK getting such products and have you thought about doing a promotion that sees limited availability of a “guest” burger from overseas?
Although there are currently no plans to bring these products to the UK market, we would never rule this out. We like to vary the menu offering we bring to different markets in order to appeal to the different tastes that our guests from around the world enjoy. For example, Chicken Fries are now offered on a global scale after proving so popular in the US that customers in other markets requested them to be introduced. Introducing a “guest burger” promotion is certainly a good idea and something we will keep in mind.
4. In terms of product development, what sort of lifecycle is there from the conception of an idea to development to seeing it available in restaurants?
Product development and innovation is an important part of our business to ensure that our guests continue to get a variety of great-tasting products they love. All potential new products undergo a thorough product innovation process, including market research, product concept, concept testing, product development, product testing, validation in market and ultimately, launch.
5. Coca-Cola Freestyle is appearing in more of your restaurants, what was the factor in bringing this to the UK market?
Coca-Cola Freestyle is the drinks option that allows our restaurant guests more choice. The popularity of the machine in the US prompted us to bring it to these shores and it has been very well received by consumers. By giving our guests a greater variety of options, we are allowing them to do what we’ve always encouraged our guests to do: customise their BURGER KING® restaurant experience, so that they have a more enjoyable time when they visit us.
6. More and more US burger chains are coming to the UK (Five Guys, Shake Shack, Smashburger) – how do you see BK contending with this increased competition?
The introduction of these new restaurants shows that the UK is still hungry for the burger, and we are only too happy to continue innovating with new products and delivering great-tasting, high-quality food to our customers to meet this demand.
7. Speaking of US burger chains it seems some do offer that often talked about “secret menu” – is there really one in the UK or if not something you’d consider?
BURGER KING® restaurants do not have “secret” menu items. Our restaurants have long been known for customization as part of our commitment to provide our guests with choice. Many of our customers elect to add ingredients to our menu offerings.
8. Going back to the Burger Lad website. For years the High Street promotions have been a bit “hush hush” until they are released. How do you think we’ve influenced that in recent years?
At BURGER KING® we aim to surprise and delight with regular new menu offerings. To give our customers what they want, we aim to continue to innovate with new products and concepts. Burger Lad is a prominent burger review blog and we are working with your reviewers to help spread the word about the great meal offerings that BURGER KING® has!
9. OK I walk into a Burger King branch in ten years from now, what do I see?
We hope you’ll see a restaurant packed with happy, smiling guests, who are enjoying the latest menu offerings as well as our classic range of WHOPPER® sandwiches. Our long term commitment is to continue to serve the same 100% flame-grilled burgers that we are famous for, using high quality ingredients at great value prices.
10. Finally, when am I going to get the call to come and work for you?
With the knowledge you would bring, Burger Lad, I am sure you would be a great asset to our team! Can we pay you in burgers?
We’d like to thank Matt for his insightful responses today and to all the team for making this Burger King interview possible.