4 December 1954

The first Burger King is opened in Miami, Florida.

Burger King
GenreFast food restaurant
PredecessorInsta-Burger King
FoundedInsta-Burger King:
1953; 68 years ago (1953)
Jacksonville, Florida
Burger King:
1954; 67 years ago (1954)
Miami, Florida
FounderInsta-Burger King:
Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns
Burger King:
David Edgerton and James McLamore
Headquarters5505 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States
Number of locations
17,796 (2018)
Area served
Key people
  • Alexandre Behring (Chairman RBI)[1]:123
  • Daniel S. Schwartz (CEO)[1]:123
  • José E. Cil (President)[1]:123
  • Joshua Kobza (CFO)[1]:123
Revenue1,970,000,000 United States dollar (2012) Edit this on Wikidata
363,000,000 United States dollar (2012) Edit this on Wikidata
117,700,000 United States dollar (2012) Edit this on Wikidata
ParentRestaurant Brands International
Footnotes / references

Burger King (BK) is an American multinational chain of hamburger fast food restaurants. Headquartered in Miami-Dade County, Florida, the company was founded 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". Over the next half-century, the company changed hands four times, with its third set of owners, a partnership of TPG Capital, Bain Capital, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, taking it public in 2002. In late 2010, 3G Capital of Brazil acquired a majority stake in the company, in a deal valued at US$3.26 billion. The new owners promptly initiated a restructuring of the company to reverse its fortunes. 3G, along with partner Berkshire Hathaway, eventually merged the company with the Canadian-based doughnut chain Tim Hortons, under the auspices of a new Canadian-based parent company named Restaurant Brands International.

The 1970s were the "Golden Age" of the company's advertising, but beginning in the early 1980s Burger King advertising began losing focus. A series of less successful advertising campaigns created by a procession of advertising agencies continued for the next two decades. In 2003, Burger King hired the Miami-based advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B), which completely reorganized its advertising with a series of new campaigns centered on a redesigned Burger King character nicknamed "The King", accompanied by a new online presence. While highly successful, some of CP+B's commercials were derided for perceived sexism or cultural insensitivity. Burger King's new owner, 3G Capital, later terminated the relationship with CP+B in 2011 and moved its advertising to McGarryBowen, to begin a new product-oriented campaign with expanded demographic targeting.

Burger King's menu has expanded from a basic offering of burgers, French fries, sodas, and milkshakes to a larger and more diverse set of products. In 1957, the "Whopper" became the first major addition to the menu, and it has become Burger King's signature product since. Conversely, Burger King has introduced many products which failed to catch hold in the marketplace. Some of these failures in the United States have seen success in foreign markets, where Burger King has also tailored its menu for regional tastes. From 2002 to 2010, Burger King aggressively targeted the 18–34 male demographic with larger products that often carried correspondingly large amounts of unhealthy fats and trans-fats. This tactic would eventually damage the company's financial underpinnings, and cast a negative pall on its earnings. Beginning in 2011, the company began to move away from its previous male-oriented menu and introduce new menu items, product reformulations and packaging, as part of its current owner 3G Capital's restructuring plans of the company.[4]

As of December 31, 2018, Burger King reported it had 17,796 outlets in 100 countries.[5][6] Of these, nearly half are located in the United States, and 99.7% are privately owned and operated,[6] with its new owners moving to an almost entirely franchised model in 2013. Burger King has historically used several variations of franchising to expand its operations. The manner in which the company licenses its franchisees varies depending on the region, with some regional franchises, known as master franchises, responsible for selling franchise sub-licenses on the company's behalf. Burger King's relationship with its franchises has not always been harmonious. Occasional spats between the two have caused numerous issues, and in several instances, the company's and its licensees' relations have degenerated into precedent-setting court cases. Burger King's Australian franchise Hungry Jack's is the only franchise to operate under a different name, due to a trademark dispute and a series of legal cases between the two.


Wordmark used from 1954 until 1957

The predecessor to Burger King was founded in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida, as Insta-Burger King.[7] 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), who had purchased the rights to two pieces of equipment called "Insta-machines", opened their first restaurants. Their production model was based on one of the machines they had acquired, an oven called the "Insta-Broiler". This strategy proved to be so successful that they later required all of their franchises to use the device.[8][9] 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), before selling it to the Pillsbury Company in 1967.[8]:28

Logo from May 1, 1969 until April 30, 1994
Logo from May 1, 1994 until June 30, 1999
Logo from July 1, 1999 until December 21, 2020. Burger King intends to phase out this logo on locations with the current brand.
Burger King Big King XXL Meal

Pillsbury's management tried several times to restructure Burger King during the late 1970s and the 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",[9]:118 Smith restructured corporate business practices at all levels of the company. Changes included updated franchise agreements,[10] a broader menu[9]:119[10]:66 and new standardized restaurant designs. Smith left Burger King for PepsiCo in 1980[11] shortly before a system-wide decline in sales.

Pillsbury's 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 Burger King, McDonald's, and top burger chains known as the Burger wars.[12] Brinker left Burger King in 1984, to take over Dallas-based gourmet burger chain Chili's.[13]

Smith and Brinker's efforts were initially effective,[14] but after their respective departures, Pillsbury relaxed or discarded many of their changes, and scaled back on construction of new locations. These actions stalled corporate growth and sales declined again, eventually resulting in a damaging fiscal slump for Burger King and Pillsbury.[15][16] Poor operation and ineffectual leadership continued to bog down the company for many years.[16][17]

Pillsbury was eventually acquired by the British entertainment conglomerate Grand Metropolitan in 1989.[18][19] Initially, Grand Met attempted to bring the chain to profitability under newly minted CEO Barry Gibbons; the changes he initiated during his two-year tenure had mixed results, as successful new product introductions and tie-ins with The Walt Disney Company were offset by continuing image problems and ineffectual advertising programs.[20] Additionally, Gibbons sold off several of the company's assets in attempt to profit from their sale and laid off many of its staff members.[21][22][23]

After Gibbon's departure, a series of CEOs each tried to repair the company's brand by changing the menu, bringing in new ad agencies and many other changes.[24][25][26] The parental disregard of the Burger King brand continued with Grand Metropolitan's merger with Guinness in 1997 when the two organizations formed the holding company Diageo.[27] Eventually, the ongoing systematic institutional neglect of the brand through a string of owners damaged the company to the point where major franchises were driven out of business, and its total value was significantly decreased.[28] Diageo eventually decided to divest itself of the money-losing chain and put the company up for sale in 2000.[29][30]

An example of the 20/20 concept interior at a Burger King in Cork, Ireland

The twenty-first century saw the company return to independence when it was purchased from Diageo by a group of investment firms led by TPG Capital for US$1.5 billion in 2002.[20][31] The new owners rapidly moved to revitalize and reorganize the company, culminating with the company being taken public in 2006 with a highly successful initial public offering.[32][33] The firms' strategy for turning the chain around included a new advertising agency and new ad campaigns,[34][35][36] a revamped menu strategy,[37] a series of programs designed to revamp individual stores,[38] a new restaurant concept called the BK Whopper Bar,[39] and a new design format called 20/20.[39] These changes successfully re-energized the company, leading to a score of profitable quarters.[40] Yet, despite the successes of the new owners, the effects of the financial crisis of 2007–2010 weakened the company's financial outlooks while those of its immediate competitor McDonald's grew.[40][41] The falling value of Burger King eventually led to TPG and its partners divesting their interest in the chain in a US$3.26 billion sale to 3G Capital of Brazil.[42][43] Analysts from financial firms UBS and Stifel Nicolaus agreed that 3G would have to invest heavily in the company to help reverse its fortunes.[43][44] After the deal was completed, the company's stock was removed from the New York Stock Exchange, ending a four-year period as a public company.[45][46] The delisting of its stock was designed to help the company repair its fundamental business structures and continue working to close the gap with McDonald's without having to worry about pleasing shareholders.[44] In the United States domestic market, the chain has fallen to third place in terms of same store sales behind Ohio-based Wendy's. The decline is the result of 11 consecutive quarters of same store sales decline.[47]

In August 2014, 3G announced that it planned to acquire the Canadian restaurant and coffee shop chain Tim Hortons and merge it with Burger King with backing from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. The two chains will retain separate operations post-merger, with Burger King remaining in its Miami headquarters.[48] A Tim Hortons representative stated that the proposed merger would allow Tim Hortons to leverage Burger King's resources for international growth. The combined company will be the third-largest international chain of fast food restaurants.[49][50] The deal lead to a controversy over the practice of tax inversions, in which a company decreases the amount of taxes it pays by moving its headquarters to a tax haven, a country with lower rates but maintains the majority of their operations in their previous location. As a high-profile instance of tax inversion, news of the merger was criticized by U.S. politicians, who felt that the move would result in a loss of tax revenue to foreign interests, and could result in further government pressure against inversions.[50][51][52][53]

In 2019 Burger King reported that it planned to close up to 250 low-volume locations per year, with closures coming into effect in 2020.[54]

In February 2021, Burger King began testing a customer loyalty rewards program called "Royal Perks" in Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, New Jersey and Long Island.[55]

Structure and operations

Burger King Holdings is the parent company of Burger King, also known as Burger King Corporation and abbreviated BKC, and is a Delaware corporation formed on July 23, 2002.[1]: A subsidiary, it derives its income from several sources, including property rental and sales through company owned restaurants;[1]: however, a substantial portion of its revenue is dependent on franchise fees.[1]: During the transitional period after the acquisition of the company by 3G Capital, Burger King's board of directors was co-chaired by John W. Chidsey, formerly CEO and chairman of the company, and Alex Behring, managing partner of 3G Capital.[56] By April 2011, the new ownership completed the restructuring of Burger King's corporate management and Chidsey tendered his resignation, leaving Behring as CEO and chair.[57]

The company operates approximately 40 subsidiaries globally that oversee franchise operations, acquisitions and financial obligations such as pensions.[1]:Exhibit 21.1 One example of a subsidiary is Burger King Brands, Inc. which is responsible for the management of Burger King's intellectual properties. A wholly owned subsidiary established in 1990,[58] Burger King Brands owns and manages all trademarks, copyrights and domain names used by the restaurants in the United States and Canada. It is also responsible for providing marketing and related services to the parent company.[59]

In 2011, the majority of Burger King restaurants, approximately 90%, were privately held franchises.[60] In North America, Burger King Corporation is responsible for licensing operators and administering of stores. Internationally, the company often pairs with other parties to operate locations or it will outright sell the operational and administrative rights to a franchisee which is given the designation of master franchise for the territory. The master franchise will then be expected to sub-license new stores, provide training support, and ensure operational standards are maintained. In exchange for the oversight responsibilities, the master franchise will receive administrative and advertising support from Burger King Corporation to ensure a common marketing scheme.[61][62] The 3G Capital ownership group announced in April 2011 that it would begin divesting itself of many corporate owned locations with the intent to increase the number of privately held restaurants to 95%.[60] As of 2016, the percentage of privately owned Burger King establishments grew to 99.5%.[6]

As the franchisor for the brand, Burger King Holdings has several obligations and responsibilities; the company designs and deploys corporate training systems while overseeing brand standards such as building design and appearance.[38][63][64] The company also develops new products and deploys them after presenting them to its franchises for approval per a 2010 agreement between itself and the franchise ownership groups.[60] Burger King has limited approval over franchise operations such as minimum hours of operation and promotional pricing.[65][66] Additionally, Burger King designates approved vendors and distributors while ensuring safety standards at the productions facilities of its vendors.[1]:

Burger King is headquartered in a nine-story office tower by the Miami International Airport in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida.[67] Elaine Walker of the Miami Herald stated that the headquarters has a "Burger King" sign that drivers on State Road 836 "can't miss". In addition, the chain planned to build a neon sign on the roof to advertise the brand to passengers landing at the airport. On Monday July 8, 2002, 130 employees began working at the Burger King headquarters with the remainder moving in phases in August 2002. Prior to the moving to its current headquarters in 2002, Burger King had considered moving away from the Miami area to Texas; Miami-Dade County politicians and leaders lobbied against this, and Burger King stayed.[68] In August 2014, the future of the company's Miami headquarters was again in doubt as reports surfaced that Burger King was in talks about buying the Canadian restaurant chain Tim Hortons, with a view to relocating its headquarters to Canada where the corporate tax rate was lower.[69][70] The merger between Burger King and Tim Hortons created the fast food company now known as Restaurant Brands International Inc.[71]

The company's previous headquarters were in a southern Dade County campus located on Old Cutler Boulevard in the Cutler census-designated place.[72][73] The former Burger King headquarters as of 2007 houses rental offices for several companies.[74]


A Burger King in London, England
Burger King restaurant in Leicester Square, London, England

When Burger King Corporation began franchising in 1959, it used a regional model where franchisees purchased the right to open stores within a geographic region.[9]:117[10]:64 These franchise agreements granted BKC very little oversight control of its franchisees and resulted in issues of product quality control, store image and design, and operational procedures.[9]:118[10]:64

During the 1970s, structural deficiencies in Burger King's franchise system became increasingly problematic for Pillsbury. A major example was the relationship between Burger King and Louisiana-based franchisee Chart House,[10]:64 Burger King's largest franchisee group at the time with over 350 locations in the United States. The company's owners, William and James Trotter, made several moves to take over or acquire Burger King during the 1970s, all of which were spurned by Pillsbury.[20] After the failed attempts to acquire the company, the relationship between Chart House and Burger King soured and eventually devolved into a lawsuit.[20] Chart House eventually spun off its Burger King operations in the early 1980s into a holding company called DiversiFoods which, in turn, was acquired by Pillsbury in 1984 and absorbed into Burger King's operations.[75][76]

As part of the franchising reorganization segment of Operation Phoenix, Donald N. Smith initiated a restructuring of future franchising agreements in 1978. Under this new franchise agreement, new owners were disallowed from living more than one hour from their restaurants – restricting them to smaller individuals or ownership groups and preventing large, multi-state corporations from owning franchises. Franchisees were also now prohibited from operating other chains, preventing them from diverting funds away from their Burger King holdings. This new policy effectively limited the size of franchisees and prevented larger franchises from challenging Burger King Corporation as Chart House had.[10]:64 Smith also sought to have BKC be the primary owner of new locations and rent or lease the restaurants to its franchises. This policy would allow the company to take over the operations of failing stores or evict those owners who would not conform to the company guidelines and policies.[20] By 1988, parent company Pillsbury had relaxed many of Smith's changes, scaling back on construction of new locations, which resulted in stalled growth of the brand.[15] Neglect of Burger King by new owner Grand Metropolitan and its successor Diageo[28] further hurt the standing of the brand, causing significant financial damage to BK franchises and straining relations between the parties.[77]

A Burger King in Oaxaca, Mexico
A Burger King franchise adapted to operate in the historic district of Oaxaca, Mexico

By 2001 and after nearly 18 years of stagnant growth, the state of its franchises was beginning to affect the value of the company. One of the franchises most heavily affected by the lack of growth was the nearly 400-store AmeriKing Inc., one of the largest Burger King franchisees.[78] By 2002, the franchise owner, which until this point had been struggling under a nearly US$300 million debt load and been shedding stores across the US, was forced to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy.[79] The failure of AmeriKing deeply affected the value of Burger King, and put negotiations between Diageo and the TPC Capital-led group on hold. The developments eventually forced Diageo to lower the total selling price of the chain by almost $750 million.[77] After the sale, newly appointed CEO Brad Blum initiated a program to help roughly 20 percent of its franchises, including its four largest, who were in financial distress, bankruptcy or had ceased operations altogether.[80] Partnering with California-based Trinity Capital, LLC, the company established the Franchisee Financial Restructuring Initiative, a program to address the financial issues facing BK's financially distressed franchisees. The initiative was designed to assist franchisees in restructuring their businesses to meet financial obligations, focus on restaurant operational excellence, reinvest in their operations, and return to profitability.[81]

Individual franchisees took advantage of the AmeriKing failure; one of BK's regional owners, Miami-based Al Cabrera, purchased 130 stores located primarily in the Chicago and the upper mid-west region, from the failed company for a price of $16 million, approximately 88 percent of their original value. The new company, which started out as Core Value Partners and eventually became Heartland Foods, also purchased 120 additional stores from distressed owners and revamped them. The resulting purchases made Cabrera the largest minority franchisee of Burger King, and Heartland one of the company's top franchises.[82] By 2006, the company was valued at over $150 million, and was sold to New York–based GSO Capital Partners.[83] Other purchasers included a three-way group of NFL athletes Kevin Faulk, Marcus Allen, and Michael Strahan who collectively purchased 17 stores in the cities of Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia;[84] and Cincinnati-based franchisee Dave Devoy, who purchased 32 AmeriKing stores. After investing in new decor, equipment and staff retraining, many of the formerly failing stores showed growth approaching 20 percent.[28]

As part of 3G's restructuring plan, the company decided to divest itself of its corporate owned locations by re-franchising them to private owners and become a 100% franchised operation by the end of 2013. The project, which began in April 2012, saw the company divest corporate-owned locations in Florida, Canada, Spain, Germany, and other regions.[85][86][87] The move gave the company a Q3, 2013 profit of US$68.2 million over the same quarter, 2012 of US$6.6 million.[85]

At the end of its 2013 fiscal year, Burger King was the second largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants in terms of global locations,[1]:123 behind industry bellwether McDonald's, which had 32,400 locations. At the end of 2014, Burger King ranked fourth among US food chains in terms of US sales, behind McDonald's, Starbucks, and Subway.[88] Burger King now has over 12,000 stores worldwide.[89]

International operations

Burger King located in Karl Johan's Street, Oslo, Norway

While BK began its foray into locations outside of the continental United States in 1963 with a store in San Juan, Puerto Rico,[90] it did not have an international presence until several years later. Shortly after the acquisition of the chain by Pillsbury, it opened its first Canadian restaurant in Windsor, Ontario in 1969.[10]:66[91] Other international locations followed soon after, including Australia in 1971, with a restaurant in the Perth suburb of Innaloo, and Europe in 1975, with a restaurant in Madrid.[92][93] Beginning in 1982, BK and its franchisees began operating stores in several East Asian countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea.[20] Due to high competition, all of the Japanese locations were closed in 2001; however, BK reentered the Japanese market in June 2007.[94] BK's Central and South American operations began in Mexico in the late 1970s and by the early 1980s in Caracas, Venezuela, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.[20] While Burger King lags behind McDonald's in international locations by over 12,000 stores, as of 2008 it had managed to become the largest chain in several countries including Mexico and Spain.[95] The company divides its international operations into three segments; the Middle East, Europe and Africa division (EMEA), Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).[1]:5 In each of these regions, Burger King has established several subsidiaries to develop strategic partnerships and alliances to expand into new territories. In its EMEA group, Burger King's Switzerland-based subsidiary Burger King Europe GmbH is responsible for the licensing and development of BK franchises in those regions.[1]:5, Exhibit 21:1[96] In APAC region, the Singapore-based BK AsiaPac, Pte. Ltd. business unit handles franchising for East Asia, the Asian subcontinent and all Oceanic territories.[1]:6, Exhibit 21:1[61][97] The LAC region includes Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands and has no centralized operations group.[1]:6, Exhibit 21:1

Burger King at the Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, Finland

Australia is the only country in which Burger King does not operate under its own name.[1]:6 When the company set about establishing operations down under in 1971, it found that its business name was already trademarked by a takeaway food shop in Adelaide.[98] As a result, Burger King provided the Australian franchisee, Jack Cowin, with a list of possible alternative names derived from pre-existing trademarks already registered by Burger King and its then corporate parent Pillsbury, that could be used to name the Australian restaurants. Cowin selected the "Hungry Jack" brand name, one of Pillsbury's US pancake mixture products, and slightly changed the name to a possessive form by adding an apostrophe "s" forming the new name Hungry Jack's.[92][99] After the expiration of the trademark in the late 1990s, Burger King unsuccessfully tried to introduce the brand to the continent. After losing a lawsuit filed against it by Hungry Jack's ownership, the company ceded the territory to its franchisee.[92] Hungry Jack's is now the only Burger King brand in Australia; Cowin's company Hungry Jack's Pty Ltd. is the master franchise and thus is now responsible for oversight of the operations that country with Burger King only providing administrative and advertising support to ensure a common marketing scheme for the company and its products.[62]

Over a 10-year period starting in 2008, Burger King predicted 80 percent of its market share would be driven by foreign expansion, particularly in the Asia-Pacific and Indian subcontinent regional markets.[100] While the TPG-led group continued BK's international expansion by announcing plans to open new franchise locations in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Brazil, the company plan is focusing on the three largest markets – India, China, and Japan.[101][102][103][104] The company plans to add over 250 stores in these Asian territories, as well as other places such as Macau, by the end of 2012.[105] Its expansion into the Indian market has the company at a competitive disadvantage with other fast food restaurants such as KFC because of the aversion of the country's large Hindu majority to beef. BK hopes to use their non-beef products, such as their TenderCrisp and TenderGrill chicken sandwiches, as well as other products like mutton sandwiches and veggie sandwiches, to help them overcome this hurdle to expand in that country.[100][106] 3G has reported that it will continue with the plans to grow globally, even ramping up the planned expansion to help increase their return on investment.[19]:1 It is expected that 3G Brazilian-based management connections in the region may help Burger King expand in Brazil and Latin America, where it has been having problems finding acceptable franchisees.[19]:2[107]

In December 2020, Burger King India went in for an initial public offering (IPO) on the BSE and NSE in India. The IPO was subscribed over 150 times.[108] The stock opened at ₹112.5 per share on December 14, nearly double the IPO price of ₹60, and closed at ₹135.[109]

Controversies and legal cases

The Hoot's family Burger King in Mattoon, Illinois, unrelated to Burger King Corporation
The Burger King restaurant in Mattoon, Illinois, originally owned by the Hoots family. This location was one subject of major litigation by Burger King.

Burger King has been involved in several legal disputes and cases, as both plaintiff and defendant, in the years since its founding in 1954. Depending on the ownership and executive staff at the time of these incidents, the company's responses to these challenges have ranged from a conciliatory dialog with its critics and litigants, to a more aggressive opposition with questionable tactics and negative consequences.[110][111][112][113] The company's response to these various issues has drawn praise[114][115] as well as accusations of political appeasement from different parties over the years.[116]

A trademark dispute involving the owners of an unrelated restaurant also named Burger King in Mattoon, Illinois, led to a federal lawsuit. As a result, the larger Burger King chain was ordered not to build any franchises within a 20-mile radius of the Mattoon Burger King.[117] An existing trademark held by a shop of the same name in South Australia forced the company to change its name in Australia to "Hungry Jack's",[118] while another state trademark in Texas forced the company to abandon its signature product, the Whopper, in several counties around San Antonio.[119] The company was only able to enter northern Alberta, in Canada, in 1995, after it paid the founders of another chain named Burger King.[120]

Legal decisions from other suits have set contractual law precedents in regards to long-arm statutes, the limitations of franchise agreements, and ethical business practices.[121][122] Many of these decisions have helped define general business dealings that continue to shape the entire marketplace.[123][124][125]

Controversies and disputes have arisen with groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), governmental and social agencies, and unions and trade groups over various topics. These situations have touched on legal and moral concepts such as animal rights, corporate responsibility,[126] ethics,[127] and social justice.[127] While the majority of the disputes did not result in lawsuits, in many of the cases, the situations raised legal questions, dealt with legal compliance, or resulted in legal remedies such as changes in contractual procedure or binding agreements between parties. The resolutions to these legal matters have often altered the way the company interacts and negotiates contracts with its suppliers and franchisees, or how it does business with the public.[114][115][128][129]

Further controversies have occurred during the company's expansion in the Middle East. The opening of a Burger King location in Ma'aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, led to a breach of contract dispute between Burger King and its Israeli franchise due to the hotly contested international dispute over the legality of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories in accordance to international law. The controversy eventually erupted into a geopolitical dispute involving Muslim and Jewish groups on multiple continents over the application of, and adherence to, international law.[130][131][132] The case eventually elicited reactions from the members of the 22-nation Arab League. The Islamic countries within the League made a joint threat to the company of legal sanctions including the revocation of Burger King's business licenses within the member states' territories.[131][132][133]

A related issue involving members of the Islamic faith over the interpretation of the Muslim version of canon law, Shariah, regarding the promotional artwork on a dessert package in the United Kingdom raised issues of cultural sensitivity,[134] and, with the former example, posed a larger question about the lengths that companies must go to, to ensure the smooth operation of their businesses in the communities they serve.[135]

On April 9, 2019 Nations Restaurant News reported that Burger King filed a lawsuit on Fritz Management LLC to remove Burger King trademarks from 37 units in South Texas after unsanitary conditions were found at a restaurant in Harlingen Texas.[136] In May 2019, the lawsuit was settled with the franchisee, Fritz Management (a subsidiary of Inc), keeping the trademarks on all 37 units.[137] [138]

On November 19, 2019 a lawsuit was filed by a vegan from Atlanta, Georgia against Burger King for allegedly selling Impossible Whopper burgers that were heated on the same grill as their beef burgers.[139]

Burger King Twitter

Women belong in the kitchen.

March 8, 2021[140]

Burger King Twitter

If they want to, of course. Yet only 20% of chefs are women. We're on a mission to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry by empowering female employees with the opportunity to pursue a culinary career. #IWD

March 8, 2021[141]

Burger King Twitter

We are proud to be launching a new scholarship programme which will help female Burger King employees pursue their culinary dreams!

March 8, 2021[142]

On March 8, 2021 Burger King was criticized for their International Women's Day marketing campaign, after a Tweet from Burger King UK stated, "Women belong in the kitchen."[143] The Tweets were labeled as sexist by thousands of Twitter users[144] and dozens of news publications.[145][146][147] Burger King UK followed up, stating "We're on a mission to change the gender ratio in the restaurant industry."[144] However, critics say the damage has already been done. The initial Tweet received high amounts of recognition and viewer interaction, while the replies received a fraction of the coverage, meaning only a few people are aware of the clarifications made by Burger King.[148] After severe backlash, Burger King deleted the Tweet 12 hours later and posted an apology stating, "We got our initial tweet wrong and we’re sorry."[149] UK Burger King received much backlash for their Tweet.[150]

Charitable contributions and services

Burger King has two of its own in-house national charitable organizations and programs. One is the Have It Your Way Foundation, a US-based non-profit (501(c)(3)) corporation with multiple focuses on hunger alleviation, disease prevention and community education through scholarship programs at colleges in the US.[151] The other charitable organization is the McLamore Foundation, also a non-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that provides scholarships to students in the US and its territories.[152]

In various regions across the United States, Burger King and its franchises have aligned themselves with several charitable organizations that support research and treatment of juvenile cancer. Each year, these coalitions hold a fund raising drive called "A Chance for Kids", in which Burger King restaurants sell lottery-style scratch cards for $1. Each card produces a winning prize that is usually a food or beverage product, but includes (rarer) items such as shopping sprees or trips. In the Northeast, BK has affiliated itself with the Major League Baseball team the Boston Red Sox and its charitable foundation, the Jimmy Fund. The group runs the contest in Boston. In the New York City area, it operates the contest in association with the Burger King Children's Charities of Metro New York and the New York Yankees. Funds raised in these areas go to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, located in Boston.[153][154] In Nebraska, the company is affiliated with the Liz's Legacy Cancer Fund "BK Beat Cancer for Kids" program at the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.[155] In the Pittsburgh region, it funded the establishment of the Burger King Cancer Caring Center, a support organization for the families and friends of cancer patients.[156]


A Whopper sandwich
The Whopper sandwich, Burger King's signature product

When the predecessor of Burger King first opened in Jacksonville in 1953, its menu consisted predominantly of basic hamburgers, French fries, soft drinks, milkshakes, and desserts. After being acquired by its Miami, Florida, franchisees and renamed to its current moniker in 1954, BK began expanding the breadth of its menu by adding the Whopper sandwich in 1957. This quarter-pound (4 oz (110 g)) hamburger was created by Burger King's new owners James McLamore and David Edgerton as a way to differentiate BK from other burger outlets at the time.[157] Since its inception, the Whopper has become synonymous with Burger King and has become the focus of much of its advertising.[158] The company even named its new kiosk-style restaurants Whopper Bars.[159]

The menu component of Donald Smith's Operation Phoenix was initiated in 1978 and led to the addition of the Burger King Specialty Sandwich line in 1979. The new product line significantly expanded the breadth of the BK menu with many non-hamburger sandwiches, including new chicken and fish offerings. The new Specialty Sandwich line was one of the first attempts to target a specific demographic, in this case, adults 18–34, who would be willing to spend more on a higher quality product.[9]:119 One of Smith's other significant contributions to the menu was the addition of a breakfast product line, which until this time was not a market Burger King had entered.[20] Besides the addition of the Croissan'Wich in 1983, the breakfast menu remained almost identical to the McDonald's offerings until a menu revamp in 1985.[20] This expansion introduced BK's "Am Express" product line, which added new products such as French toast sticks and mini-muffins.[160]

As the company expanded both inside and outside the US, it introduced localized versions of its products that conform to regional tastes and cultural or religious beliefs. International variations add ingredients such as teriyaki or beetroot and fried egg to the Whopper;[161] beer in Germany, Italy, and Spain; and halal or kosher products in the Middle East and Israel.[162][163][164] To generate additional sales, BK will occasionally introduce limited time offers (LTOs) that are versions of its core products, or new products intended for either long or short term sales. Items such as the Texas Double Whopper and various sandwiches made with mushrooms and Swiss cheese have been rotated in and out of its menu for several years,[165][166] while products such as its 1993 Meatloaf Specialty Sandwich offering and accompanying limited table service, along with special dinner platters, failed to generate interest and were discontinued.[167][168]

A Burger King value meal
A meal including small French fries, a Whopper Jr., a drink, and packets of Heinz ketchup

In order to appeal to as many demographic groups as possible and better compete with its competitor Wendy's, Burger King added a multi-tiered value menu in 1993 with items priced at 99¢, US$1.99 and $2.99.[20] The additions, part of then CEO James Adamson's back to basics program also called Operation Phoenix, were an attempt to add not only a value menu, but also a line of value meals.[169] The tiered menu was replaced with a more standard value menu in 1998 while the value meals were separated into their own menu segment.[170] This value menu featured seven products: Whopper Jr., five-piece Chicken Tenders, a bacon cheeseburger, medium-sized French fries, medium soft drink, medium onion rings, and small shake. In 2002 and 2006, BK revamped its value menu, adding and removing several different products such as chili and its Rodeo Cheeseburger.[171] Many of these items have since been discontinued, modified or relegated to a regional menu option.[172] To better appeal to a more adult palate and demographic, BK introduced several new products to its menu in 2003, including several new or revamped chicken products, a new salad line and its BK Joe brand of coffee. Some of the new products, including its Enormous Omelet Sandwich line and the BK Stacker line, brought negative attention due to the large portion size, and amounts of unhealthy fats and trans-fats.[173][174][175] Many of these products featured higher quality ingredients like whole chicken breast, Angus beef, and natural cheeses such as cheddar and pepper jack.[176] Again, not all these products, such as the BK Baguette line, have met corporate sales expectations.[34]

With the purchase of the company in 2010, 3G began a program to restructure its menu designed to move away from the male-oriented menu that had dominated under the previous ownership. The first major item to be introduced was a reformulation of its BK Chicken Tenders product in March 2011.[177] Over the next few months, approximately 20 new products were researched and developed while others were reformulated, including its Chef's Choice Burger.[178] Eventually pruned down to 10 items, Burger King began deploying the items in the United States throughout 2011–2012 with the official roll out beginning April 2012. The changes included new ice cream products, smoothies, frappés and chicken strips. The Whopper was the most prominently reformulated product in this round of introductions with a new type of cheese and packaging.[47]

At the end of 2015, Burger King's parent company, Restaurant Brands International, announced that none of its subsidiaries would use chicken that had been fed antibiotics that are "critically important" to human health; that announcement referred only to a small class of antibiotics for which there is only one drug that kill a kind of bacteria and the announcement was described as a "small step" by advocates for stopping all antibiotic use in livestock.[179]

In 2019, Burger King released an "Impossible Whopper" burger, a vegetarian burger using a plant-based patty from Impossible Foods.[180]

In February 2020, Burger King accounted that it will remove artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors from the Whopper by the end of 2020.[181] In July 2020, BK announced it would begin selling a Whopper patty made from cows on a low methane diet.[182]


An Burger King kitchen
Food being prepared in a Burger King kitchen in Italy

Like its menu, the equipment the company cooks its hamburgers with has also evolved as the company expanded. The burgers have always been broiled mechanically; the original unit, called an Insta-Broiler, was one of two pieces of equipment the founders of Insta-Burger King purchased before opening their new restaurant.[8]:27[157] The Insta-Broiler worked by cooking 12 burger patties in a wire basket, allowing the patties to be cooked from both sides simultaneously.[8]:27 When McLamore and Edgerton took over the company, besides dropping the "Insta-" prefix, they switched to an improved unit which they called a "Flame Broiler". Designed by the two and featuring stationary burners that cooked the meat on a moving chain, the unit broke down less often while maintaining a similar cooking rate.[157] The company would stay with that format for the next 40 years until Burger King began developing a variable speed broiler that could handle multiple items with different cooking rates and times.[183][184][185] These new units began testing in 1999 and eventually evolved into the two models the company deployed system-wide in 2008–2009. Accompanying these new broilers was new food-holding equipment, accompanied with a computer-based product monitoring system for its cooked products.[186] The monitoring system allows for more concise tracking of product quality while giving the company and its franchisees a method to streamline costs by more precisely projecting sales and product usage.[187]


A Burger King crown on Nick Van Eede
The Burger King "crown", worn by Nick Van Eede

Since its foundation in 1954, Burger King has employed varied advertising programs, both successful and unsuccessful. During the 1970s, output included its "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce..." jingle, the inspiration for its current mascot the Burger King, and several well known and parodied slogans such as "Have it your way" and "It takes two hands to handle a Whopper".[188][189][190] Burger King introduced the first attack ad in the fast food industry with a pre-teen Sarah Michelle Gellar in 1981. The television spot, which claimed BK burgers were larger and better tasting than competitor McDonald's,[10]:66 so enraged executives at McDonald's parent company that they sued all parties involved.[191] Starting in the early 1980s and running through approximately 2001, BK engaged a series of ad agencies that produced many unsuccessful slogans and programs, including its biggest advertising flop "Where's Herb?"[192][193]

Burger King was a pioneer in the advertising practice known as the "product tie-in", with a successful partnership with George Lucas' Lucasfilm, Ltd., to promote the 1977 film Star Wars in which BK sold a set of beverage glasses featuring the main characters from the movie.[194][195] This promotion was one of the first in the fast food industry and set the pattern that continues to the present. BK's early success in the field was overshadowed by a 1982 deal between McDonald's and the Walt Disney Company to promote Disney's animated films beginning in the mid-1980s and running through the early 1990s. In 1994, Disney switched from McDonald's to Burger King, signing a 10-movie promotional contract which would include such top 10 films as Aladdin (1992), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), and Toy Story (1995).[20] A partnership in association with the Pokémon franchise at the height of its popularity in 1999 was tremendously successful for the company, with many locations rapidly selling out of the toys and the replacements.[196]

Shortly after the acquisition of Burger King by TPG Capital, L.P. in 2002, its new CEO Brad Blum set about turning around the fortunes of the company by initiating an overhaul of its flailing advertising programs. One of the first moves by the company was to reinstate its famous "Have it your way" slogan as the corporate motto. BK handed the effort off to its new advertising agency, Miami-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky (abbreviated as CP+B). CP+B was known for having a hip, subversive tack when creating campaigns for its clients, exactly what BK was looking for.[34][35] One of CP+B strategies was to revive the Burger King character used during BK's 1970s/1980s Burger King Kingdom children's advertising campaign as a caricatured variation, now simply called "the King".[197][198] The farcical nature of "the Burger King" centered advertisements inspired an internet meme where the King is edited into unusual situations that are either comical or menacing, many times followed with the phrase "Where is your God now?"

Additionally, CP+B created a series of new characters like the Subservient Chicken and the faux nu-metal band Coq Roq, featured in a series of viral web-based advertisements on sites such as MySpace and various BK corporate pages, to complement various television and print promotional campaigns.[199][200][201] One of the more successful promotions that CP+B devised was the creation of a series of three advergames for the Xbox 360.[202][203] Created by UK-based Blitz Games and featuring company celebrity spokesman Brooke Burke, the games sold more than 3.2 million copies, placing them as one of the top selling games along with another Xbox 360 hit, Gears of War.[203][204] These ad campaigns, coupled with other new promotions and a series of new product introductions, drew positive and negative attention to BK and helped TPG and its partners realize about US$367 million in dividends.[205][206]

With the late-2000s recession hitting the 18–35 demographic targeted by the CP+B created ads particularly hard, the company saw its market share decline and the company move into the red. After the completion of the sale of the company in late 2010, the new ownership group terminated Burger King's seven-year relationship with CP+B and hired rival firm McGarryBowen to create a new campaign with an expanded market reach.[207] As part of the new campaign, McGarryBowen terminated the use of The Burger King in the company's advertising program in favor of a new program that focused on the food and ingredients in its new advertising campaigns.[208]

In recent years, Burger King has turned to trolling fast food rival McDonald's with their advertising strategy. The company's tactics have included LOLA MullenLowe's "Scary Clown Night" which offered a free Whopper to anyone dressed as a clown (McDonald's mascot) on Halloween; FCB New York's Whopper Detour initiative, which encouraged mobile app users to go to a nearby McDonald's in order to unlock a 1-center Whopper; and Ingo's "The Not Big Macs" menu, which poked fun at McDonald's recent loss of the Big Mac trademark in the EU.[209]

In February 2019, the company launched an advertising campaign called "Eat Like Andy". The television spot which premiered during the Super Bowl LIII features archival documentary film footage from "66 Scenes from America" by Jørgen Leth of the pop artist Andy Warhol (1928–1987) unwrapping and eating a Whopper. The footage was approved for use by the fast food giant courtesy of the Andy Warhol Foundation. Meanwhile, prior to the game, the mass market hamburger chain made available to viewers who ordered it in advance via DoorDash an "Andy Warhol Mystery Box" which with contains among other items a plastic bottle of ketchup and a platinum wig so one can "Eat Like Andy".[210][211]

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External links

Coordinates: 25°46′57.99″N 80°17′14.56″W / 25.7827750°N 80.2873778°W / 25.7827750; -80.2873778

17 September 1954

The novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding is first published.

Lord of the Flies
The original UK Lord of the Flies book cover
AuthorWilliam Golding
Cover artistAnthony Gross[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreAllegorical novel
PublisherFaber and Faber
Publication date
17 September 1954
ISBN0-571-05686-5 (first edition, paperback)

Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize-winning British author William Golding. The book focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves. Themes include the tension between groupthink and individuality, between rational and emotional reactions, and between morality and immorality.

The novel has been generally well received. It was named in the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 41 on the editor's list, and 25 on the reader's list. In 2003 it was listed at number 70 on the BBC's The Big Read poll, and in 2005 Time magazine named it as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Time also included the novel in its list of the 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time. Popular reading in schools, especially in the English-speaking world, a 2016 UK poll saw Lord of the Flies ranked third in the nation's favourite books from school.


Published in 1954, Lord of the Flies was Golding's first novel. The idea came about after Golding read what he deemed to be an unrealistic depiction of stranded children in youth novels like The Coral Island: a Tale of the Pacific Ocean (1857) by R. M. Ballantyne, and asked his wife, Ann, if it would "be a good idea if I wrote a book about children on an island, children who behave in the way children really would behave?"[3] As a result, the novel contains various references to The Coral Island, such as the rescuing naval officer's description of the boys' initial attempts at civilised cooperation as "a jolly good show, like the Coral Island".[4] Golding's three central characters (Ralph, Piggy, and Jack) have also been interpreted as caricatures of Ballantyne's Coral Island protagonists.[5]

The manuscript was rejected by many publishers before finally being accepted by London-based Faber & Faber; an initial rejection by the "professional reader" at Faber labelled the book an "Absurd and uninteresting fantasy about the explosion of an atomic bomb on the colonies and a group of children who land in the jungle near New Guinea. Rubbish and dull. Pointless".[6] However, Charles Monteith decided to take on the manuscript[7] and worked with Golding to complete several fairly major edits, including the removal of the entire first section of the novel, which had previously described an evacuation from nuclear war.[6] As well as this, the character of Simon was heavily redacted by Monteith, including the removal of his interaction with a mysterious lone figure who is never identified but implied to be God.[8] Monteith himself was concerned about these changes, completing "tentative emendations", and warning against "turning Simon into a prig".[6] Ultimately, Golding made all of Monteith's recommended edits and wrote back in his final letter to his editor that "I've lost any kind of objectivity I ever had over this novel and can hardly bear to look at it."[9] These manuscripts and typescripts are now available from the Special Collections Archives at the University of Exeter library for further study and research.[10] The collection includes the original 1952 "Manuscript Notebook" (originally a Bishop Wordsworth's School notebook) containing copious edits and strikethroughs.

With the changes made by Monteith and despite the initial slow rate of sale (about three thousand copies of the first print sold slowly), the book soon went on to become a best-seller, with more than ten million copies sold as of 2015.[7] It has been adapted to film twice in English, in 1963 by Peter Brook and 1990 by Harry Hook, and once in Filipino by Lupita A. Concio (1975).

The book begins with the boys' arrival on the island after their plane has been shot down during what seems to be part of a nuclear World War III.[11] Some of the marooned characters are ordinary students, while others arrive as a musical choir under an established leader. With the exception of Sam, Eric, and the choirboys, they appear never to have encountered each other before. The book portrays their descent into savagery; left to themselves on a paradisiacal island, far from modern civilization, the well-educated boys regress to a primitive state.


In the midst of a wartime evacuation, a British aeroplane crashes on or near an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are boys in their middle childhood or preadolescence. Two boys—the fair-haired Ralph and an overweight, bespectacled boy nicknamed "Piggy"—find a conch, which Ralph uses as a horn to convene all the survivors to one area. Ralph is optimistic, believing that grownups will come to rescue them but Piggy realises the need to organise ("put first things first and act proper"). Because Ralph appears responsible for bringing all the survivors together, he immediately commands some authority over the other boys and is quickly elected their "chief". He does not receive the votes of the members of a boys' choir, led by the red-headed Jack Merridew, although he allows the choir boys to form a separate clique of hunters. Ralph establishes three primary policies: to have fun, to survive, and to constantly maintain a smoke signal that could alert passing ships to their presence on the island and thus rescue them. The boys establish a form of democracy by declaring that whoever holds the conch shall also be able to speak at their formal gatherings and receive the attentive silence of the larger group.

Jack organises his choir into a hunting party responsible for discovering a food source. Ralph, Jack, and a quiet, dreamy boy named Simon soon form a loose triumvirate of leaders with Ralph as the ultimate authority. Upon inspection of the island, the three determine that it has fruit and wild pigs for food. The boys also use Piggy's glasses to create a fire. Although he is Ralph's only real confidant, Piggy is quickly made into an outcast by his fellow "biguns" (older boys) and becomes the butt of the other boys' jokes. Simon, in addition to supervising the project of constructing shelters, feels an instinctive need to protect the "littluns" (younger boys).

The semblance of order quickly deteriorates as the majority of the boys turn idle; they give little aid in building shelters, spend their time having fun and begin to develop paranoias about the island. The central paranoia refers to a supposed monster they call the "beast", which they all slowly begin to believe exists on the island. Ralph insists that no such beast exists, but Jack, who has started a power struggle with Ralph, gains a level of control over the group by boldly promising to kill the creature. At one point, Jack summons all of his hunters to hunt down a wild pig, drawing away those assigned to maintain the signal fire. A ship travels by the island, but without the boys' smoke signal to alert the ship's crew, the vessel continues without stopping. Ralph angrily confronts Jack about his failure to maintain the signal; in frustration Jack assaults Piggy, breaking one of the lenses of his glasses. The boys subsequently enjoy their first feast. Angered by the failure of the boys to attract potential rescuers, Ralph considers relinquishing his position as leader, but is persuaded not to do so by Piggy, who both understands Ralph's importance and fears what will become of him should Jack take total control.

One night, an aerial battle occurs near the island while the boys sleep, during which a fighter pilot ejects from his plane and dies in the descent. His body drifts down to the island in his parachute; both get tangled in a tree near the top of the mountain. Later on, while Jack continues to scheme against Ralph, the twins Sam and Eric, now assigned to the maintenance of the signal fire, see the corpse of the fighter pilot and his parachute in the dark. Mistaking the corpse for the beast, they run to the cluster of shelters that Ralph and Simon have erected, to warn the others. This unexpected meeting again raises tensions between Jack and Ralph. Shortly thereafter, Jack decides to lead a party to the other side of the island, where a mountain of stones, later called Castle Rock, forms a place where he claims the beast resides. Only Ralph and a quiet suspicious boy, Roger, Jack's closest supporter, agree to go; Ralph turns back shortly before the other two boys but eventually all three see the parachutist, whose head rises via the wind. They then flee, now believing the beast is real. When they arrive at the shelters, Jack calls an assembly and tries to turn the others against Ralph, asking them to remove Ralph from his position. Receiving no support, Jack storms off alone to form his own tribe. Roger immediately sneaks off to join Jack, and slowly an increasing number of older boys abandon Ralph to join Jack's tribe. Jack's tribe continues to lure recruits from the main group by promising feasts of cooked pig. The members begin to paint their faces and enact bizarre rites, including sacrifices to the beast. One night, Ralph and Piggy decide to go to one of Jack's feasts.

Simon, who faints frequently and is probably an epileptic,[12][13] has a secret hideaway where he goes to be alone. One day while he is there, Jack and his followers erect an offering to the beast nearby: a pig's head, mounted on a sharpened stick and soon swarming with scavenging flies. Simon conducts an imaginary dialogue with the head, which he dubs the "Lord of the Flies". The head mocks Simon's notion that the beast is a real entity, "something you could hunt and kill", and reveals the truth: they, the boys, are the beast; it is inside them all. The Lord of the Flies also warns Simon that he is in danger, because he represents the soul of man, and predicts that the others will kill him. Simon climbs the mountain alone and discovers that the "beast" is the dead parachutist. He rushes down to tell the other boys, who are engaged in a ritual dance. The frenzied boys mistake Simon for the beast, attack him, and beat him to death. Both Ralph and Piggy participate in the melee, and they become deeply disturbed by their actions after returning from Castle Rock.

Jack and his rebel band decide that the real symbol of power on the island is not the conch, but Piggy's glasses—the only means the boys have of starting a fire. They raid Ralph's camp, confiscate the glasses, and return to their abode on Castle Rock. Ralph, now deserted by most of his supporters, journeys to Castle Rock to confront Jack and secure the glasses. Taking the conch and accompanied only by Piggy, Sam, and Eric, Ralph finds the tribe and demands that they return the valuable object. Confirming their total rejection of Ralph's authority, the tribe capture and bind the twins under Jack's command. Ralph and Jack engage in a fight which neither wins before Piggy tries once more to address the tribe. Any sense of order or safety is permanently eroded when Roger, now sadistic, deliberately drops a boulder from his vantage point above, killing Piggy and shattering the conch. Ralph manages to escape, but Sam and Eric are tortured by Roger until they agree to join Jack's tribe.

Ralph secretly confronts Sam and Eric, who warn him that Jack and Roger hate him and that Roger has sharpened a stick at both ends, intimating that the tribe intends to hunt him like a pig and behead him. The following morning, Jack orders his tribe to begin a hunt for Ralph. Jack's savages set fire to the forest while Ralph desperately weighs his options for survival. Following a long chase, most of the island is consumed in flames. With the hunters closely behind him, Ralph trips and falls. He looks up at a uniformed adult—a British naval officer whose party has landed from a passing cruiser to investigate the fire. Ralph bursts into tears over the death of Piggy and the "end of innocence". Jack and the other boys, filthy and unkempt, also revert to their true ages and erupt into sobs. The officer expresses his disappointment at seeing British boys exhibiting such feral, warlike behaviour before turning to stare awkwardly at his own warship.


At an allegorical level, the central theme is the conflicting human impulses toward civilisation and social organisation—living by rules, peacefully and in harmony—and toward the will to power. Themes include the tension between groupthink and individuality, between rational and emotional reactions, and between morality and immorality. How these play out, and how different people feel the influences of these form a major subtext of Lord of the Flies, with the central themes addressed in an essay by American literary critic Harold Bloom.[14] The name "Lord of the Flies" is a literal translation of Beelzebub, from 2 Kings 1:2–3, 6, 16.


The book, originally entitled Strangers from Within, was initially rejected by an in-house reader, Miss Perkins, at London based publishers Faber and Faber as "Rubbish & dull. Pointless".[7] The title was considered "too abstract and too explicit". Following a further review, the book was eventually published as Lord of the Flies.[15][16]

A turning point occurred when E. M. Forster chose Lord of the Flies as his "outstanding novel of the year."[7] Other reviews described it as "not only a first-rate adventure but a parable of our times".[7] In February 1960, Floyd C. Gale of Galaxy Science Fiction rated Lord of the Flies five stars out of five, stating that "Golding paints a truly terrifying picture of the decay of a minuscule society ... Well on its way to becoming a modern classic".[17]

"Lord of the Flies presents a view of humanity unimaginable before the horrors of Nazi Europe, and then plunges into speculations about mankind in the state of nature. Bleak and specific, but universal, fusing rage and grief, Lord of the Flies is both a novel of the 1950s, and for all time."

Robert McCrum, The Guardian.[7]

In his book Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong, Marc D. Hauser says the following about Golding's Lord of the Flies: "This riveting fiction, standard reading in most intro courses to English literature, should be standard reading in biology, economics, psychology, and philosophy."[18]

Its stances on the already controversial subjects of human nature and individual welfare versus the common good earned it position 68 on the American Library Association's list of the 100 most frequently challenged books of 1990–1999.[19] The book has been criticized as "cynical" and portraying humanity exclusively as "selfish creatures". It has been linked with "Tragedy of the commons" by Garrett Hardin and books by Ayn Rand, and countered by "Management of the Commons" by Elinor Ostrom. Parallels have been drawn between the "Lord of the Flies" and an actual incident from 1965 when a group of schoolboys who sailed a fishing boat from Tonga were hit by a storm and marooned on the uninhabited island of ʻAta, considered dead by their relatives in Nuku‘alofa. The group not only managed to survive for over 15 months but "had set up a small commune with food garden, hollowed-out tree trunks to store rainwater, a gymnasium with curious weights, a badminton court, chicken pens and a permanent fire, all from handiwork, an old knife blade and much determination". As a result, when ship captain Peter Warner found them, they were in good health and spirits. Dutch historian Rutger Bregman, writing about this situation said that Golding's portrayal was unrealistic.[20]

  • It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 41 on the editor's list, and 25 on the reader's list.[21]
  • In 2003, the novel was listed at number 70 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.[22]
  • In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.[23] Time also included the novel in its list of the 100 Best Young-Adult Books of All Time.[24]

Popular in schools, especially in the English-speaking world, a 2016 UK poll saw Lord of the Flies ranked third in the nation's favourite books from school, behind George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Charles DickensGreat Expectations.[25]

On 5 November 2019, BBC News listed Lord of the Flies on its list of the 100 most influential novels.[26]

In other media


There have been three film adaptations based on the book:

A fourth adaptation, to feature an all-female cast, was announced by Warner Bros. in August 2017,[27][28] but was subsequently abandoned. In July 2019, director Luca Guadagnino was said to be in negotiations for a conventionally cast version.[29][30] Ladyworld, an all-female adaptation, was released in 2018.


Nigel Williams adapted the text for the stage. It was debuted by the Royal Shakespeare Company in July 1996. The Pilot Theatre Company has toured it extensively in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

In October 2014 it was announced that the 2011 production[31] of Lord of the Flies would return to conclude the 2015 season at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre ahead of a major UK tour. The production was to be directed by the Artistic Director Timothy Sheader who won the 2014 Whatsonstage.com Awards Best Play Revival for To Kill a Mockingbird.


In June 2013, BBC Radio 4 Extra broadcast a dramatisation by Judith Adams in four 30-minute episodes directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.[32] The cast included Ruth Wilson as "The Narrator", Finn Bennett as "Ralph", Richard Linnel as "Jack", Caspar Hilton-Hilley as "Piggy" and Jack Caine as "Simon".

  1. Fire on the Mountain
  2. Painted Faces
  3. Beast from the Air
  4. Gift for Darkness


Many writers have borrowed plot elements from Lord of the Flies. By the early 1960s, it was required reading in many schools and colleges.[33]


Author Stephen King uses the name Castle Rock, from the mountain fort in Lord of the Flies, as a fictional town that has appeared in a number of his novels.[34] The book itself appears prominently in his novels Hearts in Atlantis (1999), Misery (1987), and Cujo (1981).[35]

King wrote an introduction for a new edition of Lord of the Flies (2011) to mark the centenary of William Golding's birth in 1911.[36]


King's fictional town of Castle Rock in turn inspired the name of Rob Reiner's production company, Castle Rock Entertainment, which produced the film Lord of the Flies (1990).[36]


A 1998 episode from the ninth season of The Simpsons, titled "Das Bus," parodies Lord of the Flies.[37] The episode is about Bart Simpson and his class getting stuck on an island and trying to form a society.

In Season 3 of Cobra Kai (2021), when Robby is arrested, he is seen reading a copy of Lord of the Flies when he first arrives in juvenile hall.


The final song on U2's debut album Boy (1980) takes its title, "Shadows and Tall Trees", from Chapter 7 in the book.[38]

Iron Maiden wrote a song inspired by the book, included in their 1995 album The X Factor.[39]

The Blues Traveler song "Justify the Thrill," included on the 1997 album "Straight on Till Morning," makes reference to the Lord of the Flies in the lyrics: "The pig's head on a stick does grin / As we teeter on the brink / He's singing you are all my children / My island's bigger than you think."[40]

The Filipino indie pop/alternative rock outfit The Camerawalls include a song entitled "Lord of the Flies" on their 2008 album Pocket Guide to the Otherworld.[41]


  • Golding, William (1958) [1954]. Lord of the Flies (Print ed.). Boston: Faber & Faber.

See also


  1. ^ "Bound books – a set on Flickr". 22 November 2007. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  2. ^ Amazon, "Lord of the Flies: Amazon.ca" Archived 20 May 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Amazon
  3. ^ Presley, Nicola. "Lord of the Flies and The Coral Island." William Golding Official Site, 30th Jun 2017, https://william-golding.co.uk/lord-flies-coral-island Archived 23 January 2021 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 9th Feb 2021.
  4. ^ Reiff, Raychel Haugrud (2010), William Golding: Lord of the Flies, Marshall Cavendish, p. 93, ISBN 978-0-7614-4700-9
  5. ^ Singh, Minnie (1997), "The Government of Boys: Golding's Lord of the Flies and Ballantyne's Coral Island", Children's Literature, 25: 205–213, doi:10.1353/chl.0.0478
  6. ^ a b c Monteith, Charles. "Strangers from Within." William Golding: The Man and His Books, edited by John Carey, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1987.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "The 100 best novels: No 74 – Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 12 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  8. ^ Kendall, Tim. Email, University of Exeter, received 5th Feb 2021.
  9. ^ Williams, Phoebe. "New BBC programme sheds light on the story behind the publication of Lord of the Flies." Faber & Faber Official Site, 6th Jun 2019, https://www.faber.co.uk/blog/new-bbc-programme-sheds-light-on-the-story-behind-the-publication-of-lord-of-the-flies/ Archived 1 May 2021 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 14th Feb 2021.
  10. ^ "Collections Browser." University of Exeter, http://lib-archives.ex.ac.uk/TreeBrowse.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&field=RefNo&key=EUL+MS+429. Accessed 5th Feb 2021.
  11. ^ Weiskel, Portia Williams, ed. (2010). "Peter Edgerly Firchow Examines the Implausible Beginning and Ending of Lord of the Flies". William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Bloom's Guides. Infobase. ISBN 9781438135397. Archived from the original on 11 June 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  12. ^ Baker, James Rupert; Ziegler, Arthur P., eds. (1983). William Golding's Lord of the Flies. Penguin. p. xxi.
  13. ^ Rosenfield, Claire (1990). "Men of a Smaller Growth: A Psychological Analysis of William Golding's Lord of the Flies". Contemporary Literary Criticism. 58. Detroit, MI: Gale Research. pp. 93–101.
  14. ^ Bloom, Harold. "Major themes in Lord of the Flies" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  15. ^ Symons, Julian (26 September 1986). "Golding's way". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 6 October 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  16. ^ Faber, Toby (28 April 2019). "Lord of the Flies? 'Rubbish'. Animal Farm? Too risky – Faber's secrets revealed". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 28 April 2019.
  17. ^ Gale, Floyd C. (February 1960). "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf". Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 164–168.
  18. ^ Marc D. Hauser (2006). Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. page 252.
  19. ^ "100 most frequently challenged books: 1990–1999". American Library Association. 2009. Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2009.
  20. ^ Bregman, Rutger (9 May 2020). "The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 9 May 2020. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  21. ^ Kyrie O'Connor (1 February 2011). "Top 100 Novels: Let the Fighting Begin". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  22. ^ "The Big Read – Top 100 Books". BBC. April 2003. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  23. ^ Grossman, Lev; Lacayo, Richard (6 October 2005). "ALL-TIME 100 Novels. Lord of the Flies (1955), by William Golding". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Archived from the original on 10 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  24. ^ "100 Best Young-Adult Books". Time. Archived from the original on 22 January 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  25. ^ "George Orwell's Animal Farm tops list of the nation's favourite books from school". The Independent. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  26. ^ "100 'most inspiring' novels revealed by BBC Arts". BBC News. 5 November 2019. Archived from the original on 3 November 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2019. The reveal kickstarts the BBC's year-long celebration of literature.
  27. ^ Fleming, Mike, Jr (30 August 2017). "Scott McGehee & David Siegel Plan Female-Centric 'Lord of the Flies' At Warner Bros". Deadline. Archived from the original on 6 March 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  28. ^ France, Lisa Respers (1 September 2017). "'Lord of the Flies' all-girl remake sparks backlash". Entertainment. CNN. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  29. ^ Kroll, Justin (29 July 2019). "Luca Guadagnino in Talks to Direct 'Lord of the Flies' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on 30 July 2019. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  30. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan (25 April 2020). "Luca Guadagnino Taps 'A Monster Calls' Author to Write 'Lord of the Flies' Adaptation". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 24 September 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Lord of the Flies, Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, review". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 30 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.[failed verification]
  32. ^ "William Golding – Lord of the Flies". BBC Radio 4. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013.
  33. ^ Ojalvo, Holly Epstein; Doyne, Shannon (5 August 2010). "Teaching 'The Lord of the Flies' With The New York Times". nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  34. ^ Beahm, George (1992). The Stephen King story (Revised ed.). Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel. p. 120. ISBN 0-8362-8004-0. Castle Rock, which King in turn had got from Golding's Lord of the Flies.
  35. ^ Liukkonen, Petri. "Stephen King". Books and Writers (kirjasto.sci.fi). Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 23 March 2007.
  36. ^ a b King, Stephen (2011). "Introduction by Stephen King". Faber and Faber. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  37. ^ Cohen, David (2006). The Simpsons The Complete Ninth Season DVD commentary for "Das Bus" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  38. ^ Bailie, Stuart (13 June 1992). "Rock and Roll Should Be This Big!". NME. UK. Archived from the original on 23 December 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2007.
  39. ^ "CALA (-) LAND". ilcala.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on 13 October 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  40. ^ ""Justify the Thrill" at Google Play Music". Archived from the original on 20 May 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  41. ^ "Indie band The Camerawalls releases debut album". Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 May 2020.

External links

6 May 1954

Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.

In the sport of athletics, a four-minute mile means completing a mile run in less than four minutes. It was first achieved in 1954 by Roger Bannister in 3:59.4. The “four-minute barrier” has since been broken by over 1,400 male athletes, and is now the standard of all male professional middle distance runners in cultures that use Imperial units. In the 64 years since, the mile record has been lowered by almost 17 seconds, and currently stands at 3:43.13. Running a mile in four minutes translates to a speed of 15 miles per hour 24.14 km/h, or 2:29.13 minutes per kilometre, or 14.91 seconds per 100 metres. It also equals 22 feet per second.

Breaking the four-minute barrier was first achieved on 6 May 1954 at Oxford University’s Iffley Road Track, by Englishman Roger Bannister, with the help of fellow-runners Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher as pacemakers.

Two months later, during the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games hosted in Vancouver, B.C., two competing runners, Australia’s John Landy and Bannister, ran the distance of one mile in under four minutes. The race’s end is memorialised in a photo, and later a statue, of the two, with Landy looking over his left shoulder, just as Bannister is passing him on the right. Landy thus lost the race. The statue was placed in front of the Pacific National Exhibition entrance plaza.

18 February 1954

The first Church of Scientology is established.

L. Ron Hubbard established the first Church of Scientology in Los Angeles on February 18, 1954. Ever since, the religion has attracted a number of followers and has grown into a global institution. It also has its fair share of critics and whistleblowers.

L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology was born in 1911. Growing up, Hubbard took a keen interest in studying various classical systems of philosophy such as the ancient Greek religion and as the son of a naval officer traveled extensively across America, interacting closely with the natives of various regions. Hubbard studied Freud’s psychoanalysis and traveled across Asia, learning the various schools of thought that formed the spiritual basis of ancient Asian religions. Hubbard then started to form this theory – a self-help system that he called Dianetics. In May 1950, he published his first book about the system, slowly evolving it into a full-fledged religion over the next four years. On February 18, 1954, the first Church of Scientology opened in Los Angeles, California. Through the following decade, Scientology spread across the world to various regions and the number of church members started to swell. Apart from the US churches were opened in many parts of Europe, South Africa, and Australia. Scientology also faced its own set of challenges in many countries including France and Australia. With its growth in popularity critics have grown in numbers and criticism in strength. By 1966 Hubbard had relinquished his responsibilities at the Church of Scientology to a group of executives and oversaw the growth of the religion alone. He passed away on January 24, 1986.

The Encyclopedia of American Religions describes Scientology as a religion which is “concerned with the isolation, description, handling and rehabilitation of the human spirit.” The Church of Scientology, headquartered at the Church of Scientology International, Los Angeles, says one of the key purposes of the religion is to achieve certainty about one’s spiritual nature and discover the spiritual bond between each person and God, the ‘Supreme Being.’ Hubbard based the metaphysical foundations of Scientology on the principle that each human being is in essence a Thetan – an intelligent conscious being – moving through time and space, gathering spiritual experiences in the body. To achieve one’s full potential as a Thetan a number of ritual practices such as reliving past traumas and difficulties is practiced with other practitioners; this is called Auditing in Hubbard’s theory of Dianetics. Scientologists believe that a practice of their prescribed processes allow the mind to unlock hidden powers and grow beyond the ordinarily imagined goals of people.

Some of the most famous people who are members of the Church of Scientology include the superstar Tom Cruise, actress Kirstie Alley, singer-entertainer Sonny Bono, the famous ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, actor Jeff Conaway, Nancy Cartwright who lent Bart Simpson her voice, and Priscilla Presley the wife of Elvis Presley. The author and poet William S. Burroughs, footballer John Brodie, author Neil Gaiman, and singer Lisa Marie Presley are among the celebrities who are erstwhile members of the Church of Scientology. Some of the people who left the faith have eventually become staunch critics of the church and its practices. Apart from the church at Los Angeles, the Church of Scientology has important offices in Sussex, England, Florida, and other parts of the world.

Scientology has faced the brunt of very severe criticism – most of it coming from the fact that it is far more a cult and a commercial enterprise than a religion. Scientologists need to pay for much of the reading/viewing material available to educate new initiates. Hubbard, the founder has also faced a number of accusations – some claim that he falsified many details about his background including education and his former occupation – setting up the church as a means to earn much money. Hubbard has been convicted of fraud in France, in absentia. Hubbard had outlined a Fair Game policy for dealing with enemies of the Church. According to Fair Game, such enemies “may be deprived of property or injured by any means…May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed”, bringing it under much criticism. A number of instances have also been cited by critics where Scientologists have been involved in murders and heists, whereby denouncing Dianetics as an effective tool for self-help.

12 November 1954

Ellis Island ceased operations.

On this day in 12 November 1954, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shuts it doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40 percent of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor off the New Jersey coast and named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land in the 1770s.

On January 2, 1892, 15-year-old Annie Moore, from Ireland, became the first person to pass through the newly opened Ellis Island, which President Benjamin Harrison designated as America’s first federal immigration center in 1890. Before that time, the processing of immigrants had been handled by individual states.

Not all immigrants who sailed into New York had to go through Ellis Island. First- and second-class passengers submitted to a brief shipboard inspection and then disembarked at the piers in New York or New Jersey, where they passed through customs. People in third class, though, were transported to Ellis Island, where they underwent medical and legal inspections to ensure they didn’t have a contagious disease or some condition that would make them a burden to the government. Only two percent of all immigrants were denied entrance into the U.S.

Immigration to Ellis Island peaked between 1892 and 1924, during which time the 3.3-acre island was enlarged with landfill and additional buildings were constructed to handle the massive influx of immigrants. During the busiest year of operation, 1907, over 1 million people were processed at Ellis Island.

3 November 1954


The first Godzilla movie is released.

Godzilla is a 1954 Japanese science fiction kaiju film featuring Godzilla, produced and distributed by Toho. It is the first film in the Godzilla franchise and the first film in the Showa series. The film is directed by Ishir? Honda, with a screenplay by Honda, Takeo Murata, and Shigeru Kayama and stars Akira Takarada, Momoko K?chi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka as the performers for Godzilla. Nakajima would go on to portray the character until his retirement in 1972.

In 1956, TransWorld Releasing Corporation and Embassy Pictures released Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, a heavily re-edited “Americanized” version of the original film with additional footage featuring Raymond Burr. In 2004 Rialto Pictures gave the 1954 film a limited theatrical release in the United States to coincide with the franchise’s 50th anniversary.

11 October 1954


The Viet Minh take control of North Vietnam during the first Indochina War.

The Vietnam Doc Viet Minh was a Communist front organization founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1941 to organize resistance against French colonial rule and occupying Japanese forces.

The Viet Minh launched a long and bloody guerrilla war against French colonial forces known as the First Indochina War. Ultimately, the Viet Minh, decisively defeated the French at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. On August 1, the armistice ending the war went into effect. The triumphant Viet Minh marched into Hanoi as the French prepared to withdraw their forces.

Under the provisions of the agreement signed at the Geneva Conference in July, Vietnam was to be temporarily split into approximately equal halves. The two halves were to be separated by a Demilitarized Zone. The northern half was to be governed by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and the southern half would be governed by the noncommunist State of Vietnam.