An Expensive Face-Lift On Burger King's Menu - BusinessWeek: "When Joyce Jacaruso Castillo grabbed a quick coffee at a McDonald's (MCD) in Manhattan last month, she was wowed by the low lighting, cushioned stools, and piped-in bossa nova music at one of the chain's newly remodeled units. The 69-year-old New Yorker doesn't feel the same vibe at rival Burger King (BKC), however. 'McDonald's is more uplifting,' she says. 'Burger King is so blah.'
Leveling that playing field could be expensive for the new private equity owners of Burger King Holdings, who agreed in September to buy the chain for $3.3 billion. Burger King Chief Executive Officer John W. Chidsey said last month that 85 percent of the chain's 7,200-plus locations in the U.S. need to be remodeled. Modernizing stores with the company's new '20/20' redesign will cost about $500,000 each, he said in June, with some going as high as $1.1 million. That could push the cost past $3 billion. 'The image is 20 years old,' says Charles M. Fallon, president of Burger King's North American business. 'We're working hard on making the economics work.'"