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Why is Burger King called Hungry Jack’s in Australia?

Hungry Jacks-burger king

So why is Burger King called Hungry Jack’s in Australia? This is one of life’s biggest mysteries. Luckily we have done our research for you so you don’t have to.

Like McDonald’s and KFC spreading their franchises all over the world, Burger King also attempted to enter the Australian market. But for them it was not so simple.

In 1971 the rights to Burger King in Australia were purchased by John James “Jack” Cowin. Jack had a strong understanding of the public desire for fast food and had already opened 8 out of his eventual 10 KFCs in Western Australia.

Awkwardly though, the name “Burger King” was already trademarked in Australia by a drive through burger shop in Adelaide, South Australia and therefore it could not be used here by the burger giant.

The Australian Burger King

This independent store was owned by Don Dervan. An American who knew that Burger King had not bothered trademarking the name in Australia. He opened his store in 1962. You can see some old photos of that store here.

Finding a new name

Pillsbury, the parent company of Burger King at the time showed Jack Cowin, the first Australian franchisee a list of their other trademarks to see if they owned anything else that might be appropriate.

Given, he called himself Jack, the name of one of Pillsbury’s pancake mix products “Hungry Jack” stood out to him and they added an apostrophe “s” after it, making it “Hungry Jack’s” possessive rather than singular. In the US, the original Hungry Jack product range still exists and continues to make various baking mixes and syrups.

But what about the other Burger Kings that came to Australia?

In the 1990s, after Don Dervan’s trademark was gone the American chain started opening Burger King stores in Australia which resulted in a lawsuit from Jack. I will cover this case in another article later.

Now that you know why Burger King is called Hungry Jack’s in Australia I hope you feel a little smarter having knowing this. Have a good day and may you have juicy burgers for the rest of your life. Love Keith.

What do you think?

Written by Keith

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