“The Truth Burger King Left Out”

Burger King Corporation ran ads the week of November 1, 2000 entitled “The Truth About Burger King”. Burger King only reported what they wanted you to know, so if we are going to deal with the truth……Lets’ Deal With The Whole Truth!

The Truth of this entire issue is contained in the lawsuit filed by attorneys Willie Gary and Norman Yatooma for $1.9 billion on behalf of La-Van Hawkins, Chairman and CEO of La-Van Hawkins Food Group, L.L.C., an African American Burger King franchise owner. The lawsuit alleges nine causes of action including breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, breach of implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of the franchise law.

The Truth of the matter is the lawsuit filed on behalf of La-Van Hawkins claims that Burger King reneged on a commitment made to Mr. Hawkins on the steps of the White House before President Clinton. Burger King’s commitment was to provide Mr. Hawkins’ organization with 225 Burger King establishments and support Mr. Hawkins’ initiative to build those stores in low-income areas to create jobs and promote economic empowerment in the African American community. Apparently, Burger King only wanted to learn Mr. Hawkins’ formula for success in reaching the African American consumer, and then cut him loose.

Does Burger King think that African Americans should be grateful for the little that the organization gives back to them?

Burger King stated that they have nearly 1200 minority owned stores, but what they neglected to inform you was that African Americans own only 256 of those stores. Does Burger King consider all minorities the same?

Burger King stated that they have invested at least $1 million in African American owned banks. What they neglected to inform you was that Burger King franchises nationwide bring in at least 2.5 billion dollars from the African American communities! Does Burger King think that African American owned banks are not capable of handling large sums of money produced by our own communities? Burger King stated that $25 million is invested annually on advertising to reach African American consumers. What they neglected to inform you is how much of those dollars actually go to African American owned media! Challenge Burger King to give you that information!

Burger King stated that a boycott of their restaurants would hurt African Americans, but what they neglected to state was that they asked the court to shut down targeted African American owned restaurants and put families out of work.

This issue is not about what Burger King believes they are doing for African Americans, it’s about what they are NOT doing! It’s about commitments that were made and NOT kept!





I, Robert Lowes make this declaration based on my personal knowledge:

1. From 1995 to 1997, I was the Chairman and CEO of Burger King Corporation (“BKC”).
2. I am currently an adjunct professor in the economics department at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
3. During my tenure as Chairman and CEO, BKC was very interested in capturing the urban markets.
4. Under my leadership, BKC aggressively pursued La-Van Hawkins due to his demonstrated ability to capture the urban fast food markets
5. We conducted extensive due diligence on Mr. Hawkins and determined that he was “the person for the job” that could enable BKC to have a competitive advantage in the urban fast-food markets. Our due diligence revealed no issues and further supported La-Van Hawkins’ potential to become a large BKC franchise.
6. I was present at the White House with President Clinton and Mr. Hawkins when the partnership between BKC and Hawkins was announced to the world, and when it was said that BKC committed to help open 125 stores with Hawkins in the empowerment zones.
7. Burger King issued a press release confirming the same after this historic meeting and the creation of a dynamic new partnership with La-Van Hawkins, which resulted in the articled attached hereto as Exhibit 2.
8. As CEO of BKC, I approved the business plan of Confidential Memorandum attached hereto as Exhibit 1, that was presented to me and my team by Hawkins and his team including his accounting firm, Arthur Anderson.
9. This business plan or Confidential Memorandum clearly states that Hawkins intended to open 225 BKC stores in partnership with BKC and provides the financial analysis for such an undertaking.
10. BKC’s official position was to support Hawkins initiative and I personally did all in my power to make the 225 BKC/Hawkins store a reality.
11. I was aware and personally interviewed Hawkin’s very professional and proficient team of experts and leaders to carry out his plan and BKC endorsed his team.
12. I met with Bob Johnson, President of Black Entertainment Television, because he was contemplating a multi-million dollar investment in Hawkins’ partnership with BKC. I assured Mr. Johnson that BKC was behind Hawkins and the plans set forth in his business plan and Confidential Memorandum.
13. BKC knew that Hawkins made commitments to the communities in which the stores were to be opened and BKC endorsed the positive feedback from community leaders and others.
14. Hawkins opened doors for BKC from the White House to the inner city markets in ways that were new to BKC and BKC willingly accepted such entry.
15. As Chairman and CEO of BKC, I personally did everything in my power to ensure that the deal and agreement that we reached with Hawkins to open 225 BKC stores would happen. It was good business for BKC and for Hawkins; Hawkins’ stores were extremely profitable for BKC.
16. Unfortunately, incredible obstacles were encountered by the Hawkins team at lower levels of the BKC management, to such a degree that I had to personally intervene and sign off on decisions and matters typically handled by lower management and not by the Chairman and CEO. I felt such intervention was necessary and imperative for BKC to live up to BKC’s agreement and firm commitment with Hawkins to open the 225 stores.
17. I left BKC in 1997 and became Chief Financial Officer of Tricon.

Signed under penalty of perjury this 5th day of November 2000

If Burger King wants he Truth told, then let the whole Truth be told!

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