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Burger King co-founder Dave Edgerton dies at 90

Edgerton was the inventor of the chain charbroiler device.

Dave Edgerton, the operations specialist in the twosome that founded Burger King in the mid-1950s, has died at age 90 from complications following a fall.

The Florida native died on April 3, but his death was not revealed until this week.

Edgerton was already a restaurateur when he met a business-minded fellow entrepreneur named Jim McLamore. Edgerton was poised to open his second unit of a quick-service restaurant called Insta Burger. McLamore convinced Edgerton to join forces and open the store under the name Insta-Burger King, with the name ultimately shortened to Burger King.

The concept took off, in part because of its use of a custom cooker that exposed burger patties to high heat as they moved along on a mini-conveyor belt. The chain charbroiler, as the device came to be known, was Edgerton’s brainchild.

As Burger King prospered and evolved, Edgerton’s focus remained on systems, equipment and food. McLamore was more of the back-office specialist, handling the books and the business dynamics.

They remained partners until the duo sold Burger King to Pillsbury in 1967. McLamore stayed with the chain while Edgerton ventured into a new restaurant business, the Bodega steakhouse chain. He also opened several fine-dining places with Leonce Picot.

Later, he was also involved with a Fuddruckers franchise.

McLamore died in 1996.

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