Burger King's young CEO is reshaping the company

Daniel Schwartz, 33, has helped turn the struggling burger chain into a cash machine.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 25, 2014 1:21PM
Photo caption: Daniel Schwartz, Burger King CEO
Image credit: BKWBy Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

Burger King's (BKW) 33-year-old CEO has helped engineer a total restructuring of the burger chain in just 13 months on the job. 

After surrounding himself with an equally young management team -- including a 28-year-old chief financial officer -- Daniel Schwartz (pictured) has helped turn the struggling burger chain into a "cash machine," Devin Leonard writes for Bloomberg Businessweek's newest cover story.


"These days . . . Burger King is behaving more like a startup than a typical burger chain," Leonard writes. 


Perhaps that's because this is Schwartz's first job in the fast-food industry. Before Burger King, he was an analyst at Credit Suisse in Boston, and more recently, he worked for 3G Capital, the Brazilian private equity firm that bought Burger King in 2010. 


It's uncommon to find a CEO of a large public company as young as Schwartz. After Facebook's (FB) Mark Zuckerberg, he would be the youngest CEO of the Fortune 1000, if Burger King made that list, Leonard points out.


Having no experience in the industry, Schwartz spent his first couple of months training in Burger King restaurants -- cleaning toilets, making burgers, and interacting with customers.


His experience led him to believe that the complicated menu was slowing down orders. So he simplified the burger chain's offerings to include dishes that are easier to assemble. 


Under the direction of 3G, Schwartz has helped reduce Burger King's corporate headcount from 38,884 to 2,425 by refranchising restaurants, meaning those workers now report to franchise owners. He has implemented deep cost-cutting measures that axed many executive perks, including lavish offices that employees called "Mahogany Row" and a $1 million annual party at a chateau in Italy, Leonard writes.


Schwartz has also negotiated deals with restaurant operators in Brazil, China, and Russia, which have helped grow the number of Burger Kings worldwide by 12 percent to 13,667 over the past year.


In the first quarter of this year, the company's same-store sales increased 2 percent and net income nearly doubled to $60.4 million.


Go to Bloomberg Businessweek to read Leonard's full story on Schwartz and the Burger King restructuring. 


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Tags: BKWMCDYUM
337Comments
Jul 25, 2014 2:36PM
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Maybe after he is done fixing Burger King he can run for President of the USA.
Jul 25, 2014 2:52PM
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Sometimes change is good and sometimes it is not. We need change in our US Congress and State Governments on a regular basis. We need term limits on every Politician in the World since they are only there for themselves or their party and most definitely not for us. 
Jul 25, 2014 2:41PM
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I tried 2 different  Burger Kings recently and both were terrible.  The food was lousy and the places were not clean.  I'm not sure if they can improve, but that creepy king and offering gay burgers won't help to get people in the door.
Jul 25, 2014 2:18PM
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Now if he could only do something about the food....
Jul 25, 2014 4:31PM
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complicated menu????? really????? stop hiring those idiots. I boycotted them when they introduced the proud whopper with rainbow paper.
Jul 25, 2014 3:36PM
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Make it over by making the food taste good.
Jul 25, 2014 2:57PM
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Hope gays can keep them in business! They lost mine. 

Jul 25, 2014 2:31PM
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I dought the recent move to pander to the radical homosexual movement with the "Proud Whopper" is going to help. In fact, I'ld be willing to bet it has hurt sales. I for 1 will never set foot in in a BK again. The last thing I want is the thought of two dudes plowin' each others back 40 while I trying to eat.......GROSS!
Jul 25, 2014 5:26PM
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Since he decided to make new rainbow wrapping for their burgers, maybe he should rename it 'Burger QUEEN'!!! I'll never eat there again...  
Jul 25, 2014 3:12PM
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will never eat there again,forcing gay views on every one
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BK still can't make decent fries and you have to pull half of the huge bun off to get to the hamburger.  They use to have a good chicken sandwich, but the last time I had that, the bun was twice as big as the chicken piece.  Breads cheaper than meat, and it shows with what you get at fast food restaurants - but the price keeps going up.

Jul 25, 2014 3:27PM
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WELL HERE WE ARE.... doomed to comment on burgers and movie theater ticket prices instead of anything in the news that may p1ss off somebody... anybody else notice that?
Jul 25, 2014 3:16PM
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I liked BK i really did. But I will NEVER buy anything from them EVER again!!!!!! After they came out with this "GAY PRIDE" burger that was the last straw for me!!!! I can not make people believe what I believe. People are free to believe what they want.  I live and let live. BUT! the gays are trying to push THEIRS on everyone else. If they stand up for what they want, well thats okay  BUT if christians stand up for what we BELIEVE well we are being ULGY!!!  I WILL NEVER GIVE MY MONEY to people who's will end up in hell!! for what they believe. we should be talerant for others. yes this is true. then why is it that NO ONE well do that  for a christain? I will not suport gays in any way. I well try to love and pray for them to find the light and turn from sin... Live and let live.... and do the same  for christains....I don't try to push my belifes on others and I don't want gays to push it on me. But the do all the time. gay this and gay that!!!!!! I'll hurt them were it counts the pocket book I HOPE others will do the same and spend their fast food dollars some were else!!!!!!!!!!
Jul 25, 2014 4:31PM
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BUT THE FOOD STILL SUCKS.


JUST SAYING....
Jul 25, 2014 3:53PM
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I don't eat at Burger King. The food is lousy.
Jul 25, 2014 3:02PM
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Now can the regular employees have a raise? A quarter? A dime? A nickel? I think hell will freeze over before that happens!
Jul 25, 2014 3:07PM
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Seriously that's the way to do it...fire over 30.000 staff take the rest off payroll make the franchise owners pay the salaries of the remaining few cut hours so no benefits need to be paid so of course BK is now raking in millions and as you have fired nearly all of the bigwigs except your boyhood buddies your paydays and benefits will go through the roof  what a guy!
Jul 25, 2014 5:52PM
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I feel sorry for the working stiffs who need a job and are stuck working for this weasel of a stroke job.
Jul 25, 2014 3:54PM
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I find it odd that someone with hardly any fast food experience ends up being one of the head honchos of something like Burger King. But I guess that's run of the mill nowadays. Most people at the corporate level of fast food restaurants probably can't work a lunch time rush to save their life. In general, I think it's a bad move to have people in charge like that. Burger King might end up losing profits and then be resold and rebranded.
Jul 25, 2014 3:11PM
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The worst and driest burger I ever had was at Burger King. I've never eaten there since.
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