Burger King's young CEO is reshaping the company
Daniel Schwartz, 33, has helped turn the struggling burger chain into a cash machine.
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.
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.
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