Bankruptcy to One of the World’s Top FranchisesBusiness Challenge
After years of declining sales Burger King® Hawaii filed for bankruptcy, but in July 2002, Kazi Restaurants of Hawaii, Inc., acquired 20 restaurants across the state in hopes to return the franchise to the black with the help of Harris’ expert team. We first established a partnership between a well-known local brand, University of Hawaii athletics, to reconstruct consumer confidence. For the next three years we made sure to sustain awareness by securing event exposure at games—placing signage in key locations for each home match while locally-driven advertising campaigns made use of familiar faces, places, and vernacular seen and heard around the islands to increase the brand’s relevance. The careful cultivation of this grassroots type of support not only increased customer loyalty, but also cleared a path for things to come. By 2007-2008 Burger King® Hawaii got behind some heavy-hitting events, sponsoring the Hawaii Amateur Surfing State Championships featuring long-board surfer Ned Snow, auditions for NBC’s “Deal or No Deal,” the 6th Annual Waikiki Spam Jam, and Hawaii’s first-ever youth band competition with renowned local concert promoter, Tom Moffatt, for Band Champ. In a few short years the franchise went from bankruptcy to an average increase of $700,000 in sales per location.Strategies
Burger King Corporation and Kazi Restaurants engaged the Harris Agency to revitalize the brand and revenue whilst also focusing on improved guest experience. After evaluating the core brand equities driving traffic and loyalty the Harris Agency began a strategic campaign to promote value and premium products and develop under-performing day-parts.Key initiatives included the following:
• A partnership with Hawaii’s largest sports program, University of Hawaii athletics, allowed Burger King Hawaii to rebuild consumer confidence by affiliating itself with an established local brand.
• The Harris Agency positioned Burger King Hawaii as a local favorite by developing the University of Hawaii’s Legends program that saluted the school’s all-time greatest athletes, thus building pride amongst the large, local alumni base and avid sports fans
• Awareness was sustained for 3 years during primetime television programs and event exposure on the BK blimp and signage during home basketball and football games including placing the BK logo in the field goal net (a first for UH)
• Locally-driven advertising campaigns utilized local faces and places around Hawaii to build relevance including a local value proposition called the “Buck 49 Grindz”.
• Local menu favorites were introduced like SPAM™ breakfast platters.
• During its launch in 2007, the Harris Agency’s PR efforts made national and international headlines including the Associated Press, CNN Worldwide and several other outlets.
• Grass roots community sponsorships grew loyalty amongst heavy quick service restaurant customers through the following initiatives:
• Sponsored long-board surfer Ned Snow and Hawaii’s largest amateur surfing association state championship in 2007 and 2008 during the BURGER KING® Hawaii Amateur Surfing State Championships.
• Television game show auditions for NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” at Pearlridge Shopping Center
• Hawaii’s largest street Spam™ food festival during the 6th Annual Waikiki Spam Jam.
• Hawaii’s first-ever youth band competition with renowned local concert promoter Tom Moffatt for Band Champ.
In just seven years of Kazi Restaurant’s acquisition, Burger King Hawaii went from bankruptcy to becoming one of the world’s most successful franchises. Sales growth grew by an exponential 78% with an average increase of $700,000 for each of its 23 restaurants. At Burger King’s 2008 Annual International Conference, Kazi Foods earned the prestigious Brand Leadership Award for being one of the world’s top franchisees.