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New look for Burger King

The new look is black, red and earth tones, with LED lighting in the red stripe along the roofline. Local contractors did all the work in Detroit Lakes. Brian Basham/Tribune1 / 3
Mike Knoop of Lakeland Management inside the Detroit Lakes Burger King, one of 11 Burger Kings in Minnesota owned by the franchisee. All are getting a facelift to help modernize the corporation's image. Brian Basham/Tribune2 / 3
Canopies now provide some shelter for customers using the drive-through. Brian Basham/Tribune3 / 3

That bright red stripe that adorns the outside of the Detroit Lakes Burger King used to be lit with 150 feet of florescent light bulbs. Now it's lit courtesy of new LED bulbs.

The roof used to be blue, now it's black, and much of the exterior has been redone in reddish earth tones.

It's all part of a remodeling project that is part of a chain-wide effort to upgrade Burger King's look.

"This one was built in 1996 -- the idea is to just bring everybody a newer look," said franchisee Mike Knoop of Lakeland Management, which owns 11 Burger Kings in central Minnesota, including New Ulm, Alexandria, Willmar and Detroit Lakes.

The franchisees, not the corporation, pay for the remodeling work. Knoop said three of Lakeland's 11 Burger Kings will be done this year; the rest will be done by 2015.

Local contractors did the work at the Detroit Lakes Burger King, which started in September. They include Bristlin and Son Construction, Mark's Electric and Herzog Roofing.

"We used all local contractors," Knoop said. "I'm from here and I wanted local people to do the work."

The change includes a new canopy over the drive-through area, new pavers and outdoor picnic tables that will come out in the spring.

"Everything except the brick got changed," on the exterior of the building, Knoop said.

Insulation was added during the remodeling, but big windows define the Detroit Lakes Burger King, and the lobby area remains bathed in natural light.

A digital menu board has been added, but most of the interior improvements were done two years ago, Knoop said.

The menu has changed in both obvious and subtle ways. Burger King now features the popular Cinnabon cinnamon rolls that used to be found only in mall stores.

And even its old favorites like the Whopper now feature little enhancements like fresh-cut lettuce and onions.

"There's a big push for freshness and higher quality," Knoop said. "Our menu in the last year is probably 90 percent different than it was before."

Coming up soon on the menu will be specialty coffees, lattes and iced coffees

The Detroit Lakes Burger King has earned an "A" rating from Burger King Corporation for operations and cleanliness, on an A through F grading scale.

There are 35 to 40 full- and part-time employees at the Detroit Lakes Burger King.

The restaurant is open at 5:30 a.m. every day for breakfast and closes at midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends.

"The local contractors did a very nice job here," Knoop said. "And customers seem to like it. It really looks nice at night, all those LED bulbs radiate down. That's when we get the most compliments, at night."