Home » Food & Drink » Food » Which Restaurant Outcompeted McDonald’s in 1991?
Max Hamburger

Which Restaurant Outcompeted McDonald’s in 1991?

McDonald’s is one of the most well-known and profitable hamburger franchises globally, yet there was fierce rivalry between them over 30 years ago. In 1991, which restaurant outperformed McDonald’s?

Max Hamburgers was the first hamburger restaurant to successfully compete with McDonald’s, causing them to close their Sweden branch in 1991. When McDonald’s returned to the city a few years later, Max Hamburgers’ success put McDonald’s out of business in 2007.

The History of Max’s Hamburger

Curt Bergfors and Britta Fredriksson launched the chain in Gällivare, Sweden back in 1968. Richard Bergfors, Bergfors’ oldest son, has served as president since 2002.

Max’s Hamburger was the leading hamburger restaurant brand in northern Sweden until the 1980s, with only one location outside of Norrland on Drottninggatan, Stockholm. This was altered when it evolved into a nationwide fast-food business in the 1990s. Sweden had roughly 85 eateries in 2011, compared to just 40 five years before.

Max’s Hamburger expanded extensively in western Sweden from 2005 to 2010, expansions were planned in 2010 and the brand planned to open in Riyadh, Egypt, and Dubai, with Kuwait to follow. The Landmark Group operated three Max restaurants in Dubai three years later, with the menu changed to eliminate bacon. In addition to the United States, the brand has outlets in Poland.

On May 11, 2011, the first restaurant in Norway opened its doors. In Norway, there are now seven restaurants. The first of Max’s three restaurants in Denmark debuted on March 1, 2013. In Poland, there are eleven restaurants. The first one opened on September 1, 2017. (Source: The London Economic)

How Did Max’s Hamburger Prompt the Closure of McDonald’s in Sweden

Despite being a household name in several countries, McDonald’s Ume and Lule outlets struggled to make an impact when they initially opened in northern Sweden in 1991. 

Both locations were sold to Max’s Burgers which was Sweden’s most lucrative burger restaurant chain. It was known to be the world’s first burger joint to outsell McDonald’s. After it became clear that the unpopular businesses would not earn money, the Golden Arches had to stop operations.

McDonald’s attempted to open a new location in Lule and Skellefte and Pite sixteen years later, only to be put out of business by Max’s Burgers. Since then, the chain has consistently outperformed both McDonald’s and Burger King, indicating a lot about fast food’s future in Sweden. The president of Max’s Hamburger was definitely proud of their company’s success. 

It feels amazing. Our Swedish background, environmental work, an obsession with great-tasting burgers, whether made with beef, chicken, Lacto-Ovo vegetarian, or entirely plant-based, all help us compete with our American counterparts. Many Swedes are familiar with us. Many individuals are also aware of and supportive of our efforts to lessen our carbon footprint. And our customers seem to appreciate our efforts to develop burgers that are both tasty and beneficial for the environment.

Richard Bergfors, President Max’s Hamburger

(Source: The London Economic)

Leave a Comment