Burger King Overthrown in Europe

The Burger King (NYSE: BKC  ) monarchy is bumping up against civilian unrest overseas. "Let them eat Whoppers" just won't cut the mustard this time. Will a ban on advertising during children's shows in the United Kingdom put a dent in Burger King sales there? Will being put on the naughty list for selling oversized burgers in Spain also rough up the world's second-largest burger chain?

Yes, the King's mascot may have a painted grin on his face, but it can't disguise the fact that he's battling a pair of wars in Europe.

Britain's Daily Telegraph quotes a company executive that estimates that sales in the United Kingdom can dip by 10% to 15% if the fast-food giant isn't able to market to younger audiences.

Then you have Spain's Ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs taking a bite out of the King. It decided that it cannot continue its agreement with Burger King that counted on the chain to encourage healthier dining habits in the country by laying off the promotion of its larger burgers.

Menus and marketing campaigns will naturally vary by region, but after watching BK's latest domestic ads pitching its Enormous Omelet Sandwich and its multipatty BK Stacker, I'm guessing that restraint is a recessive trait in the King's gene pool.

Yes, BK has followed rivals like Wendy's (NYSE: WEN  ) and McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) into healthier grilled chicken sandwiches and premium salads, but it has taken a more aggressive role in embracing its junk-food roots as a way to stand out from its peers that find themselves pitching apple slices and fruit cups. Yes, you can get your kid meal at BK with applesauce instead of fries, but that doesn't seem to be the company's prevailing marketing message these days.

So, can the Burger King regimen hold up to its European attacks? Of course. The crown isn't going away. However, for a company that just went public earlier this year and is just starting to turn things around, the timing couldn't be much worse for a little overseas tension.

Let them eat Whoppers? Oh, if only they would.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves to root for BK as it's a local company out of Miami, but he's really a Wendy's guy at heart. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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