Burger King says kitchen suppliers need to excel to make approved buying list

Alasdair Murdoch, CEO

Burger King’s ethos for buying kitchen equipment is less about price and more about service, its UK CEO has claimed.

Alasdair Murdoch, who runs the business that holds the master franchise for Burger King in the UK, said the overall value and after-sales service that an equipment supplier can add will ultimately make the difference when it comes to future purchasing decisions.

One of the challenges for the UK arm is that it must abide by a list of globally-approved suppliers that it can buy from. And while it can apply for new suppliers to join this list, the complexity involved in securing approval means it has to be absolutely worth it.

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He said: “In order for us to make the effort to say that we would like to approve this new supplier selling us this bit of kit they have really got to be offering us value. And it’s not really about price – I think price is obviously an important factor but we need more added value. What we are particularly interested in is after-service and after-sales at a decent price, not a ridiculous price where you can’t make any money, but we don’t want stuff that when it goes out of warranty the price for it to be serviced goes through the roof.”

Mr Murdoch added: “Clearly we need to be seeing efficiencies and savings – that could be in oil though fryers as an example, that could be in heat, that could be in reduced amounts of power – that’s what everyone coming to us with but you need to be trying to create a long-term relationship.”

Burger King UK is embarking on an expansion drive that is likely to see it open between 20 and 50 new stores a year over the coming years. That will see a new injection of investment aimed at helping it bridge the gap between rivals such as McDonald’s and KFC.

Mr Murdoch, who was speaking at the recent Commercial Kitchen show, described the chain’s kitchen operations as “incredibly unmechanised” and suggested there was a big opportunity for this to change.

“There are lots of fantastic [suppliers] but I don’t quite see the technology there as yet. What we are beginning to see is a lot of efficiency, so we see a lot of people driving much better uses of power and much better uses of oil. They are obviously very interesting, but also I think we must be able to mechanise some of the other stuff that we do as well, which we don’t see being done successfully or properly anywhere in the world at the moment.”

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Andrew Seymour

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