Now you can have it your way, retail investor! Fast food giant Burger King announced that, in a few weeks, it'll be filing to go public. Even though the company has been owned by conglomerates like Diageo (NYSE:DEO) and General Mills' (NYSE:GIS) Pillsbury in the past, this would be the first time that Burger King trades as a stand-alone public company.

The move to go public comes after a consortium of private equity firms picked up Burger King at the fire-sale price of $1.5 billion in 2002. The country's second-largest burger chain is clearly taking advantage of its sector's revival. Rivals McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) have seen their shares more than double since the Burger King buyout, but that doesn't mean that Burger King will command a $3 billion price tag out of the gate.

Wendy's has been a consistent operator over time, while McDonald's has been revitalized in recent years after upgrading its menu offerings. Even though Burger King has followed suit -- and, in some instances, led the way for its burger brethren to follow -- its new product rollouts have still been a case of hit-or-miss, and the company's brand could use a little polishing. Yes, the new "The King" ads are edgy and effective, but when was the last time that "the Whopper beat the Big Mac" meant anything?

Going public may actually help as Burger King emerges from the privately held shadows and is held financially accountable against its peers. Besides Wendy's and McDonald's, other rivals include thrifty havens like Checkers (NASDAQ:CHKR) and Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC), which have also been muscling in on the burger titans. Shares of Checkers and Sonic have also more than doubled after bottoming out in 2002.

One can argue that Burger King's decision to go public was also impacted by the successful IPO of McDonald's Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) chain, though the company would be hopping on the wrong coattails on that front. Chipotle is a fast-growing concept with lots of real estate left to cover; Burger King is a mature fast food operator that's trying to keep its franchisees happy.

It will be interesting to dig into the company's financials. It will be even more interesting to see what Burger King believes it's worth on the open market these days. King's ransom? Let's hope not. The Whopper may have beaten the Big Mac in some long-ago taste tests, but Wall Street is a more fickle diner when it comes to valuation.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of Burger King. He lives in Coral Gables, where Burger King is coming up as one of the city's biggest corporate tenants. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. T he Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.