Francishes Sue Burger King

Friday, Nov 13, 2009  |  Updated 7:52 AM CDT
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Looks like the King's minions are getting restless.

Burger King's numerous franchise operators want to sell double cheeseburgers their way, for more than the $1 pricetag corporate wants for the flame-broiled creations and they're suing their meaty magnate over the patty's price.

The owners, who operate 90 percent of the company's 12,000 locations, say they're losing money on the deal and argue the King can't set maximum menu prices.

Those $1 double cheeseburger typically costs franchisees at least $1.10, said Dan Fitzpatrick, a Burger King franchisee from South Bend, Ind. who is a spokesman for The National Franchise Association. That includes about 55 cents for the cost of the meat, bun, cheese and toppings. The remainder typically covers expenses such as rent, royalties and worker wages.

After testing the $1 deal in markets across the country, the discounted burger went on sale nationwide last month even though franchise owners twice rejected the product because of its expense. But a judge overruled saying the company could force its franchises to participate in the value menu deal.

Restaurants, especially fast-food chains, have been slashing menu prices because of the poor economy. Executives hope the deeply discounted deals will bring in diners who are spending less when they eat out, or opting to stay home altogether.

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