Why Is Burger King Called Hungry Jack’s In Australia?

When Burger King went to expand its operations into Australia, they found that the name “Burger King” had already been trademarked by a take-away food shop in Adelaide. The name “Hungry Jack’s” was based on the name of the businessman Jack Cowin who brought the business to Australia. It was chosen from a list of possible alternatives provided by the parent company and the first Hungry Jack’s opened at Innaloo, Western Australia on 18th April 1971.


Andrew Terry; Heather Forrest (2008). “Where’s the Beef? Why Burger King Is Hungry Jack’s in Australia and Other Complications in Building a Global Franchise Brand”. Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business, 2008 28 (2): pp. 171–214. ISSN 01963228

EXTRA: In later years after the name “Burger King” did become available, there was an attempt by the Burger King parent company to expand into Australia with stores competing against the Hungry Jack’s franchises. Ultimately this venture was unsuccessful after it was found to be a breach of Jack Cowin’s master franchise agreement. However all this has nothing to do with the answer to original question “Why is Burger King called Hungry Jack’s in Australia?” Answer: Because at the time they originally went to expand, the name Burger King was already taken and they had to find something else. It really is that simple.

10 comments for “Why Is Burger King Called Hungry Jack’s In Australia?

  1. stephen evans
    November 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    My understanding is quite different.
    A Canadian entrepreneur living in Perth Jack Cowan, went to the US and did a deal with Burger King for an exclusive trading period (I think it was 15 years), to operate a chain of burger stores in Australian only, using Burger King product and systems, he called it Hungry Jack’s.
    The exclusive trading period expired around 2001, the Diagio Group started up Burger King and attempted to restrict Jack Cowan from expanding his Hungry Jack’s chain. Jack Cowan contested the Diagio action under restriction of free trade. He won in court and was awarded significant damages for loss of business.

    • David
      November 13, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Stephen,
      Thanks for commenting but apart from the five words “he called it Hungry Jack’s”, I think the rest of the info is well and truly beyond the scope of the article. You’re right in saying that there were some later attempts by the parent company to establish a separate chain under the Burger King brand before Jack Cowin won the legal proceedings when it was determined Burger King had broken the conditions of Cowin’s master franchise agreement. All this however is well beyond the scope of the article which is simply “Why is Burger King called Hungry Jacks in Australia?”. Because the name “Burger King” was already registered and they had to find a different name when they started.
      Cheers YLSNED

    • Jp
      March 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Well it says hungry jack is a registered trademark of Burger King sooooooo I think the above story is correct

  2. wiredearp
    February 6, 2014 at 9:39 am

    To complicate things further, there IS actually an actual BK in Sydney. Think its in the Chatswood mall.

    • February 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Having trouble finding any information on it and I don’t live in Sydney. I could only speculate that it must somehow fall outside the master franchise agreement between BK and Hungry Jacks.

  3. Mark
    February 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I’ve also seen a Burger King in Sydney Airport.No info on when this was setup though.

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