The Burger King

James W. McLamore, Author, Jim McLamore, Author McGraw-Hill Companies $24.95 (286p) ISBN 978-0-07-045255-8
With his company changing hands several times--it was acquired by Pillsbury, which was then bought by Grand Metropolitan--and the continuing woes at arch-rival McDonald's, the story of Burger King's creation is just a footnote to the history of the fast-food industry. But as told by McLamore, one of the company's cofounders, it is an informative footnote indeed. McLamore, who died in 1996, documents in detail the many mistakes an entrepreneur can make; for example, he stuck too long to his original concept--basically copying McDonald's--sold to Pillsbury too early and believed that a hands-on manager like him could work comfortably within a large corporate environment after the acquisition. Yet what comes through is what made the company successful: McLamore's ability to borrow ideas--such as the Whopper, Burger King's signature sandwich; insist on systems that lead to solid service; establish the brand name and worry about how to pay for it all later. Details are sometimes lacking here, and long-forgotten competitors are mentioned as if they were still in business, but McLamore gives an excellent account of what happens when you start a business that is more successful than you ever imagined. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
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