The Real Reason Burger King Is Falling Behind Competitors In Popularity

Options for fast food are endless these days. McDonald's, Taco Bell, Arby's, Wendy's, KFC, Chick-fil-A — the list goes on and on.

When customers are in need of a quick, easy, and cheap meal, fast food chains offer familiar and predictable options guaranteed to check off all of the requirements. But recent data from Statista that shows the worldwide brand value of quick service restaurants highlights that not every major fast food chain is satisfying customers like they used to in the past.

Burger King, for example, was once the second-largest fast food hamburger chain in the world, but in 2020, Wendy's has now overpowered them for that coveted second place. While it's normal for restaurants to go through changes in popularity, 2020 represented a highly noticeable decline for the Whopper chain. 

The Burger King name still carries a pretty heavy weight, so why isn't it as appealing to customers anymore? According to Eat This, Not That!, the reason for the chain's decline in popularity doesn't have to do with anything they did — but rather what they didn't do.

Burger King isn't keeping up with the demand for healthier options

According to the article, Burger King hasn't been keeping up with their competitors because they aren't offering the healthy options many customers are looking for these days. While fast food hasn't historically been known for being "healthy," recent consumer trends show that nutritious meals that are also inexpensive and convenient are becoming more in demand — and many chains have responded with those menu items.

In fact, says Eat This, Not That!, 39% of Americans look for healthy options when ordering fast food, and Burger King just hasn't stepped up to the plate with those meals like other fast food brands have done. While BK did introduce a plant-based Impossible Whopper, it's been rationalized that they lack the diversity of healthy options other chains offer (their name even implies they just sell burgers) and that has driven customers to look elsewhere.

Take Chick-fil-A, for example. The restaurant introduced gluten-free buns, grilled chicken, and even salads for health-conscious consumers (per Eat This, Not That!). And by comparison, Chick-fil-A's net worth continues to rise — the restaurant is ranked year after year as the top chain in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

So, if Burger King wants to stay in the game, they probably need to focus not just on what they do well, but what they could do better.