Saturday | July 02, 2016
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Burger King searching for new Kailua-Kona location

Burger King is exploring other locations in Kailua-Kona following the closure of its restaurant on Palani Road.

Burger King Hawaii is actively looking for a new location following the Oct. 24 closure of the Kailua-Kona fast-food eatery, said Denise Yamauchi, Burger King Hawaii managing director. The company hopes to secure a location as soon as possible, but that may take six months to a year.

“We look forward to that day,” Yamauchi said Saturday, adding that the company is seeking a location as close as possible to the Palani Road site. “We will be back.”

The closure came after lease negotiations with the property owner ended without a deal being struck, she said.

Some 17 people were employed at the Kailua-Kona restaurant. All of those employees were offered placement at other Burger King Hawaii locations as well as at KFC Hawaii, Burger King Hawaii’s sister company, when the eatery closed, Yamauchi said.

When the fast-food restaurant reopens in Kailua-Kona, Yamauchi said the company would work to bring all of its employees back to the location.

“Most of our employees that work there have been with us for a long time and you do build that family atmosphere,” she said about the company’s intent to bring back the original crews. She added that many of the employees “can’t wait” for the Kailua-Kona Burger King to reopen.

Burger King Hawaii’s four other Hawaii Island locations — two in Hilo and one each in Waimea and Pahoa — remain open, she said.

The Palani Road restaurant opened its doors in December 1984, according to West Hawaii Today archives. It featured a self-serve drink station and salad bar, a drive-thru service window and extensive playground area for children.

There are 32 Burger King restaurants in Hawaii. Twenty-one are located on Oahu, four on Maui, two on Kauai, and four on the Big Island. Kazi Foods of Hawaii owns 24 of those restaurants and is the largest local franchisee. The Army and Air Force Exchange Service owns four military base restaurants on Oahu and Host Marriott owns four airport locations.

Burger King restaurants are visited by more than 11 million people daily at 12,500 locations worldwide. Founded in 1954, Burger King is the second largest fast-food hamburger chain in the world, according to Burger King, which was purchased in 2010 by investment firm 3G Capital Global.