Cornell '47

James McLamore

Founder, Burger King

James Whitman McLamore (May 30, 1926 – August 9, 1996) was co-founder of the Burger King fast food franchise with David Edgerton. McLamore attended Northfield Mount Hermon School before matriculating at Cornell University.

McLamore was an employee and also a business man before. Edgerton originally opened Insta Burger King in Miami, Florida on March 1, 1954. Three months later, on June 1, he met McLamore and they formed the Burger King Corporation. The corporation opened Burger King stores and went on to introduce the Whopper burger in 1957, when it also dropped “Insta” from the name. The Whopper became an instant success, leading the founders to develop the “Burger King, HOME OF THE WHOPPER®” campaign in 1958. In 1961, McLamore and Edgerton acquired national and international franchising rights for the Burger King brand, which was followed by the Company´s first foray into international markets with the opening of two restaurants in Puerto Rico in 1963.

In 1967, the Pillsbury Company acquired Burger King Corporation, which became a fully owned subsidiary. James McLamore joined the board of directors of Pillsbury and continued be involved with Burger King until his retirement. At the time of the acquisition, the Burger King system was comprised of 274 restaurants with 8,000 employees in the U.S.A. and abroad.

At the end of fiscal year 2013, Burger King reported it had over 13,000 outlets in 79 countries; of these, 66 percent are in the United States and 99 percent are privately owned and operated with its new owners moving to an entirely franchised model by the end of 2013.