A Glendale franchise is testing a pilot Burger King delivery program. (Tim Berger / Glendale News-Press )
A Burger King restaurant in Glendale wants its customers to have it their way -- right to their front door.
Since April 9, the Burger King on North Central Avenue has been delivering a handful of orders each day -- the first Burger King in the state to do so, said franchise owner Bob Stevens.
"We were chosen to be the first Burger King franchisee to have delivery in the state, so it's quite a feather in our cap," Stevens said.
Following in the footsteps of delivery programs in Miami, Washington and Houston, the fast-food company is bringing its delivery program to California. Although delivery soon will be offered at more than 15 locations in the San Francisco area, Stevens' Glendale store is the pilot project in the state.
Chris Schmutzer, managing director of Stevens' eight Burger King locations, said that when he heard in November that Burger King was rolling out a delivery program, he pushed for his franchise to be involved.
"I really believed in it, and I also thought that we, in our restaurants, we operate at a really high level," he said. "I wanted to be the seed store."
The system involves routing phone and online orders -- placed at http://www.bkdelivers.com -- to a centralized location, which sends the customer's order to the closest Burger King that offers delivery.
The food is prepared and packed in a container that is newly designed to prevent burgers and fries from getting soggy or cold on the drive.
In Glendale, it's then delivered by one of five drivers to locations within a 10-minute drive -- with traffic -- from the Central Avenue restaurant.
Schmutzer said that right now the delivery boundaries are Kenneth Road to the north, Verdugo Road to the east, San Fernando Road to the south and Alameda Avenue to the west.
Stevens said the company has to select restaurants in areas with high numbers of potential customers.
"We want to make sure we're successful, so we take an area with [a] heavy population," he said. "There's a lot of high-rise office buildings in the area. Lots of residences."
In addition to the location on Central Avenue, Stevens and Schmutzer will be rolling out delivery at their Burger King on Eagle Rock Boulevard in Eagle Rock next week.
As for the challenges of adding a new function to a fast-food operation, Schmutzer said the hardest part is just getting people used to the idea of getting a burger delivered.
"It's not terribly different, you make a Whopper the same way," he said. "It's just really going to be a question of raising awareness."