Burger King is closing 26 locations in Michigan

EYM King, a Texas-based operator who the brand sued in February for not paying royalties, is closing the locations over the next few weeks.
Burger King Michigan closures
Burger King is closing 26 restaurants in Michigan. / Photograph: Shutterstock.

A Burger King franchisee is closing 26 restaurants in Michigan after the company moved to terminate its franchise agreement, according to various court and regulatory filings.

EYM King of Michigan sent a notice to the Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity last week notifying the department of plans to close the restaurants over the coming weeks. EYM King started closing the restaurants earlier this month and expects to have closed all 26 by April 15. The closures will cost the jobs of 424 workers.

The notice said that “unforeseen business circumstances and not being able to reach a resolution with Burger King Corp.” was the cause of the closures.

That notice comes just weeks after Burger King sued EYM, saying that the operator had not paid required royalties, ad fund payments and other charges.

The lawsuit specifically mentioned 14 restaurants in Detroit, Livonia, Flint, Highland Park and Ecorse, Mich. But the closure notice lists another dozen additional locations.

EYM King was part of EYM Group, which also operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Panera Bread and Denny’s and is based in Texas. Burger King is no longer listed on the company’s website and the website for EYM King is no longer operational.

A representative from EYM would not comment, referring all questions to Burger King.

But the closures come amid enormous challenges for Burger King operators in recent weeks. Two major Burger King franchisees, the 118-unit Meridian Restaurants Unlimited and the 90-unit Toms King, have declared bankruptcy this year.

Burger King, whose parent company Restaurant Brands International has hired Patrick Doyle as executive chairman, is investing $400 million in marketing and remodels to turn the brand around. But it has also acknowledged that challenges among individual franchisees could lead to ownership transfers or other situations.

The company’s sales have struggled coming out of the pandemic. The average store generates $140,000 in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization per year, which is low for a fast-food restaurant with a drive-thru.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Starbucks' value offer is a bad idea

The Bottom Line: It’s not entirely clear that price is the reason Starbucks is losing traffic. If it isn’t, the company’s new value offer could backfire.


Struggling I Heart Mac and Cheese franchisees push back against their franchisor

Operators say most of them aren't making money and want a break on their royalties. But they also complain about receiving expired cheese from closed stores. "Don't send us moldy product."


In California, jobs are up, but traffic is down

The Bottom Line: Limited-service restaurants have not cut jobs in California, despite the $20 fast-food wage. But that doesn't mean it hasn't had an impact.


More from our partners