The Reason Burger King Was Originally More Expensive Than Competitors

Home of the Whopper, Chicken Fries, and the beloved Cini-Minis, it's no secret that Burger King has menu staples that stand out. Originating in Jacksonville, Florida in 1954, Burger King is the second largest fast food burger chain in the world (per Common Cents Mom). BK's focus on quality ingredients is just the tip of the iceberg for why they've been successful, yet their prices seem to have been significantly higher than other fast food chains in the past (via Food Business News).

According to Insider, the average price of a hamburger in 1978 was 64 cents, yet a Whopper from Burger King was $1.09. In 1982, the average price of a burger was 70 cents, while Burger King sold its burgers for $1.39. From 1985 to 1997, Burger King reduced its burger price to 99 cents, yet it still exceeded the price of McDonald's during that time. By the time McDonald's burger price reached $1 in 2012, Burger King's burgers had reached $3.15. Boston 25 News states that when the Whopper was first introduced to the Burger King menu in 1957, it cost 37 cents. So, what gives; is the King just greedy?

The Whopper is hefty

Not really. That's because until McDonald's released their own 4 ounce patty with the Quarter Pounder in 1971, the Whopper had no real rival in the market. Yes, the Whopper cost more than an average hamburger, but it was no average hamburger. The Whopper patty at 4 ounces weighed slightly more than an entire McDonald's hamburger at 3.7 ounces according to Insider. James McLamore, founder and first CEO of Burger King, witnessed customers flocking to a Florida burger joint and owed it to the size of the burger and opted to do the same (via The New York Times). 

If we really want to compare apples to apples, we should compare the cost of BK's Whopper and McDonald's Quarter Pounder, and the current difference in price isn't that considerable. Today, according to Fast Food Menu Prices, a Whopper costs $4.19, while a Quarter Pounder (with cheese) costs $3.79. It does seem that today the Whopper is a bit pricier than its rival, but they also flame broil their hamburgers, and they think that's worth something.