How McDonald's Inspired The Founders Of Burger King

Burger King first appeared on the "fast food" scene back in the early 1950s. It was reportedly founded by Keith Kramer and Matthew Burns in 1953 as a venture called Insta Burger King. There have been mixed reports, however, as to who officially started the chain, per Britannica. Regardless, Burger King grew throughout the 1950s and 1960s when it started franchising; the franchising process started in 1959, and by 1963, the brand had opened its first store in Puerto Rico.

The Burger King brand could never quite get on top of McDonald's in terms of sales. It underwent various leadership changes in the 1960s and 1970s, even being sold to the Pillsbury Company in 1967.

It looks like there might be more than just some sales competition connecting these two massive burger chains. Some reports suggest that the first Burger King was actually launched after a McDonald's location inspired its founders.

McDonald's had a lot to do with Burger King's inception

By the 1950s, the idea of fast food was just starting to leave its mark on the American food industry. Brothers Dick and Mac McDonald had launched their eatery, McDonald's, back in the 1940s, and according to the corporate website, they quickly found success with their method of drive-in dining.

It turns out that the brothers might have had more of an impact on the industry than they realized because another fast-food giant supposedly found inspiration after seeing their restaurant. Arts Tribune reports that Keith Kramer and his wife's father, Matthew Burns, actually founded Insta Burger King after seeing the McDonald brothers' San Bernardino, California restaurant back in the early 1950s.

Today, Burger King and McDonald's are widely known for serving similar menu items; specifically, burgers and French fries. As of 2019, McDonald's was the biggest fast-food chain in the country, per QSR Magazine, while Burger King ranked at no. 7.