Burger King Franchisees Are Frustrated By Young New 'Coaches' The Company Hired To Tell Them What To Do

Burger king workerReutersAn employee prepares a food order for customers at Burger King.

Some of Burger King’s franchisees are upset over a new crop of young “field coaches” who have been tasked with improving their restaurants.

Franchisees have complained that some of the coaches are too young and inexperienced, with many of them hired straight out of business school, the Wall Street Journal’s Julie Jargon reports.

In a recent survey, just 36% of Burger King franchisees rated their coaches’ knowledge and capabilities as “good,” while 35% rated them “poor” and 29% “average,” according to the report. The survey, commissioned by the National Franchisee Association, involved 300 US Burger King franchise owners.

Before coaches, there were regional managers who helped franchisees by “drill[ing] into details like how many employees should staff breakfast, lunch and dinner times and whether workers were adding too many toppings to Whoppers,” Jargon writes.

Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital, which owns Burger King, implemented the “coach” system shortly after acquiring the burger chain in 2010. There are now about 145 coaches that oversee the company’s 7,100 US restaurants.

The coaches are involved more with restaurant managers than franchise owners, and they tend focus on issues like speed of customer service and restaurant cleanliness, Jargon writes.

Recounting an experience with one of the “coaches,” former Burger King manager Steve Johnson told Jargon that he “was young” and “just out of college.”

“He was great at helping us roll out new products and training our managers on how to prepare them, but he didn’t have any restaurant experience,” Johnson said.

The age and experience of Burger King’s coaches reflect that of the CEO, Daniel Schwartz.

This is Schwartz’s first job in the fast food industry and at the age of 34, he would be the second-youngest CEO of the Fortune 1000, if Burger King made that list.

In July, a Businessweek cover story credited Schwartz was credited with turning Burger King into a “cash machine.”

“These days … Burger King is behaving more like a startup than a typical burger chain,” Businessweek’s David Leonard wrote.

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