Burger King eyes sites for return to capital city

n Exploration under way, but building not likely in the near future

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2002

Burger King is considering opening two locations in Juneau.

"We are exploring opportunities there, but nothing will happen for another 18 months," said Laina Hanna, Burger King spokeswoman at corporate headquarters in Miami.

Peter Gigante, chief executive officer of Cape Fox Corp., which owns the Burger King franchise in Ketchikan, said the Native corporation considered opening a Juneau franchise last year, but decided against it for now.

"We have looked at Juneau and it's on our target list, but at the present time we have no development under way," said Larry Baker of Restaurants Northwest Inc., which has offices in Anchorage and is the Burger King franchisee for Alaska. "Obviously we are going to build in Juneau at a point in the future, but not within the next 12 months."

Burger King has served fast food in Juneau before, beginning in 1987, said Larry Spencer of Spencer Realty, who rented the franchise its downtown location in the Senate Building on South Franklin Street.

At the same time, Burger King operated a Mendenhall Valley location out of a mobile unit originally purchased for use on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Operators parked the unit in the Nugget Mall parking lot and built a semi-permanent shell around it, Spencer said.

Burger King's presence in the 1980s lasted for about two years.

"They came in during a downturn in the Juneau economy and it's fair to say that the levels of business were not what they wanted," Spencer said.

Burger King was founded in Miami in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton. It has nearly 8,000 franchises in the United States, plus more than 500 in Latin America and the Caribbean and 2,609 international franchises. The company serves about 1.6 billion flame-broiled Whopper sandwiches a year.

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Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneau-empire.com.

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