A Whopper of an honor: Local company named top Burger King franchisee

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
A Burger King restaurant stands at 2346 Broadway in Cape Girardeau. It's one of 36 restaurants operated by Midamerica Hotels Corp./Drury Restaurants.
BEN MATTHEWS

This award was a Whopper.

Cape Girardeau's Drury Management team, which operates 36 Burger Kings in the region, was recognized as the Franchisee of the Year at the Global Burger King Convention last week in Las Vegas.

The management group also was honored separately as the top franchisee in North America.

Competing against 13,000 Burger King Restaurants in 89 countries across the globe, the regional franchisee headquartered in Southeast Missouri took home the top prize.

The winner is chosen via a "Global Franchisee Excellence Program," which is based on a variety of criteria, including guest satisfaction metrics, technology adoption, updated brand image and quantifiable results such as same-store sales growth, according to Joel Neikirk, chief operating officer of Midamerica Hotels Corp./Drury Restaurants.

"This would not be possible without the commitment of our team members that serve our guests and communities we operate in each and every day," said Daniel Drury, president and CEO for Midamerica Hotels Corp./Drury Restaurants in a news release. "Our company's vision is to be the most hospitable company in all we do by serving each guest and team member as they are part of our extended family."

The Midamerica Hotels Corp./Drury Restaurants organization has employed more than 100,000 people since 1972, when the first Burger King opened on Broadway, according to the release.

Drury-owned Burger Kings have served more than 60 million Whoppers.

"We have many career members of our team that have been serving guests for over 40 years, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement for them," Chuck Bell, director of restaurant operations for Drury Restaurants, said in the release. "I can still remember my first restaurant manager, Harold Detjen (a Vietnam veteran), and coming to work on my first day 44 years ago and the excitement that he instilled in me about the brand."

In an email to the Southeast Missourian, Neikirk said the award conjures a sense of pride and confirms his belief the local franchise delivers superb hospitality to customers.

But it also brings back memories.

"This award especially has meaning with it being part of the foundational core of Midamerica Hotels/Drury Restaurants operations," Neikirk said. "What is bittersweet about this award is my friend and mentor, Jim Drury, was not able to witness and celebrate the accomplishment with the team. He cast a vision of excellence that continues to this day through each of our 1,800-plus team members in the restaurants and hotels we operate."

The Drury Management team operates seven Burger Kings in Arkansas, six in Illinois, 19 in Missouri and four in Kentucky.

bmiller@semissourian.com

(573) 388-3620

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