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Do you remember Burger Queen?
Burger Queen last for just under two decades, but it left a lot of positive impressions. Let's take a look at this short-lived fast food chain and its change to Druther's.
Last night I received a link from a friend to memorabilia related to a restaurant called “Burger Queen.” The restaurant chain, which launched in 1963, stayed as “Burger Queen” up until 1981 when they changed their name to Druther’s.
They decided to make the change because they wanted people to not just associate them with burgers since they served other foods. In 1980, hamburgers only accounted for 22 percent of BQ’s $94 million dollars in sales.
The name change was also initiated because of comparisons to a similarly named and increasingly popular burger chain, Burger King. In interviews at the time, Mark Hughes’, who was Burger Queen’s director of advertising, stated that, “…the consumer continues to confuse us with the other burgers restaurants, such as Burger King. We want to be known as a family-oriented, informal restaurant.”
“The Change to Druther’s is the cornerstone to our positioning for the chain in the 1980s. Our new name of Druther’s conveys the message that our restaurants have the variety of menu selections to satisfy a wide range of personal preferences.”
Thomas L. Hensley, Burger Queen President (1980)
In 1979, the New York marketing firm of Lippincott and Marguiles was hired by Burger Queen to review the company’s communication and marketing strategy. The name change was suggested by them.
Nowadays, only one Druther’s exists, most of the locations having been converted to Dairy Queens and other fast-food eateries.
I am curious if anyone remembers eating at a Burger Queen? Was the food any good? Was there ever a location that was near a Burger King?
I did find this wonderful ad for Burger Queen Gift Certificates from December 1973. In it, you see Santa Claus and Queenie Bee. At the time of the name change, there were four actresses who regularly played Queenie Bee to show up at store openings and at promotional events.
They did retain Queenie Bee for sometime after the changeover in names, but it’s not clear how long that lasted.
I also found images from the opening of a Burger Queen in Florida. In these photos you get to see exterior with its eating area as well as the indoor dining room.
Here is a commercial for Burger Queen from a couple of years before the name change. The main thrust of this ad is their salad bar.