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Burger King was a national chain of hamburger fast food restaurants headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The company began in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, a Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant chain. After Insta-Burger King ran into financial difficulties in 1954, its two Miami-based franchisees, David Edgerton and James McLamore, purchased the company and renamed it Burger King. Its headquarters were located in Miami, Florida.
The predecessor to Burger King was founded in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, as Insta-Burger King. After visiting the McDonald brothers' original store location in San Bernardino, California, the founders and owners (Keith J. Kramer and his wife's uncle Matthew Burns) purchased the rights to two pieces of equipment called "Insta" machines and opened their first restaurants, based around a cooking device called an Insta-Broiler. The Insta-Broiler oven proved so successful at cooking burgers, they required all of their franchises to use the device. After the company faltered in 1959, it was purchased by its Miami, Florida franchisees, James McLamore and David R. Edgerton. They initiated a corporate restructuring of the chain, first renaming the company Burger King. They ran the company as an independent entity for eight years (eventually expanding to over 250 locations in the United States). In 1967, Burger King was put in the hands of its final owner, Pillsbury.
Pillsbury management tried several times to restructure Burger King in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The most prominent change came in 1978, when Burger King hired McDonald's executive Donald N. Smith to help revamp the company. In a plan called Operation Phoenix, Smith restructured corporate business practices at all levels of the company. Changes included updated franchise agreements, a broader menu, and new, standardized restaurant designs. Smith left Burger King for PepsiCo in 1980, shortly before a system-wide decline in sales. Pillsbury Executive Vice President of Restaurant Operations Norman E. Brinker was tasked with turning the brand around and strengthening its position against its main rival, McDonald's. One of his initiatives was a new advertising campaign featuring a series of attack ads against its major competitors. This campaign started a competitive period between the top burger chains, known as the Burger Wars.
Miami, Florida, which was the homebase for the corporate headquarters of Burger King, was hit hard by three nuclear warheads. Franchises in surviving towns and cities across the nation were overrun and abandoned forever by people looking for remaining food.
After the Doomsday attacks, very few of the Burger King restaurants survive, but with new ownerships and new names.