Any visitor to Australia will notice a distinct lack of Burger King restaurants. But the eagle eyed tourist will clearly notice that other fast food restaurants have a strong presence in the country. For instance, You will find a McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, Domino’s or Pizza Hut with relative ease. In some cases, franchises of the same restaurant may only be a block or two apart. It’s not that Burger King has not tried to expand into the country, or that it doesn’t have a presence. It’s just that in Australia, Burger King is Called Hungry Jacks. In fact, Hungry Jack’s in Australia is the world’s second largest franchise operation of Burger King. So the question still remains. Why is Burger King called Hungry Jacks in Australia?
Why is Burger King called Hungry Jacks in Australia?
The reason Burger king is called Hungry Jack’s in Australia is due to licencing of trademarks. When they decided to branch out internationally they discovered that a small burger restaurant in Adelaide, Australia, already had trademarked that name. Burger King allowed the Australian franchisee to pick a name from a list of names that it, and it’;s parent company had trademarked. The franchisee, Jack Cowan, settled for Hungry Jacks, which was already being used by one of Pillsbury’s U.S. pancake mixture products. He slightly changed the name by adding an apostrophe to it. But it wasn’t completely smooth sailing for the Australian arm of Burger King, Hungry Jacks, and legal storm clouds began to brew in the mid 1990’s.
The franchise agreement was renewed in 1991 with the condition that the Australian arm open a set number of stores. In 1996, just after the Australian trademark of the name, Burger King had lapsed, Burger King sought to terminate the agreement claiming that Hungry Jacks had failed to open the required number of stores. Beginning in 1997 Burger King started to open their own branded restaurants throughout the country.
In 2001, Cowin instigated proceeding against Burger King, and Burger King lost. They decided to wrap up the operation in Australia, and in 2002 they transferred its franchise operations in the region to New Zealand.