Another US fast food chain will be closing its doors in Israel this summer after apparently failing to capture the nation’s affections and losing out to its local competitor.

Burger King, known for its flame-grilled oversized hamburger, the Whopper, will follow in the footsteps of a long line of American eateries, including Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Wendy’s, that did not succeed in the Israeli market despite their popularity in the US and other countries across the globe.

Orgad Holdings, the company’s local franchisee, announced Sunday that after nearly two decades here, Burger King would cease its operations in Israel by August.

Orgad has owned Burger King locally since 2005. Just over a year ago, it bought out the local hamburger chain, Burger Ranch, for more than NIS 100 million.

In a press release, the company said that recent research indicated that the Israeli style of hamburgers was far more popular and that all branches of Burger King would be transformed into Burger Ranch. There are currently 107 branches of the two hamburger restaurants – 55 Burger Ranches and 52 Burger Kings.

“All the research carried out over the past few months shows beyond a doubt that the taste of Burger Ranch is the preferred taste for most Israelis,” Orgad directors Eli and Yuval Orgad were quoted as saying in the Hebrew media.

With its origins in South Africa, Burger Ranch made its way to Israel in the early 1970s, and by the end of that decade, it had two branches in Tel Aviv. When McDonalds entered the fast food market here in 1993, Burger Ranch had nearly 50 restaurants and was the largest restaurant chain.

Not long afterward, the company’s founders sold out to the Paz gasoline company, which operated the company for nearly a decade. In 2006, Paz sold the chain to businessman Yossi Hoshinski, but when he died suddenly in 2008, the company went into bankruptcy. In October 2008, Burger King bought out the chain.

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