Back Yard Burgers Company Overview
Back Yard Burgers is an American restaurant chain which is present in 12 states across the country. The company has had a troublous history, which it has overcome.
Back Yard Burgers — overview
- Back Yard Burgers is an American restaurant chain which is present in 12 states across the country. The restaurant chain differentiates itself by claiming its burgers are made of Black Angus beef and cooked on real grills instead of heat lamps. The company's agency of record is LRXD.
Back Yard Burgers — history
- Back Yard Burgers was founded in 1987 in Mississippi by Lattimore Michael, a local meat grocer. Prior to opening his own restaurant, Michael operated his father's grocery store.
- In 1979, Lattimore Michael opened a discotheque in Jackson, Mississippi. This discotheque was damaged by the Pearl River flood the same year, which ultimately cost Michael his business. During his search for new business ideas, he stumbled upon an article that described double drive-through restaurants, which gave him an idea of opening a restaurant himself.
- Michael considered a variety of foods for his restaurant, but ultimately decided hamburgers will be the restaurants' main attraction. He borrowed $124,000 from his bank and used his brothers' investments to open the first Back Yard Burgers store in Cleveland, Mississippi. The small store featured two drive-throughs and outdoor tables, given that there was not enough room indoors.
- The first few months of operation went very successful and Michael received several franchise offers. By 1988, the restaurant chain had owned 11 franchised units across Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida, while by 1990, it had already expanded across the southeastern US and reached California. The same year, Back Yard Burgers opened its first store in Ohio.
- In 1993, Back Yard Burgers made its initial public offering on the stock market. The same year, it merged with its franchisees Double S Development and American Back Yard Burgers. Apart from this, the company hired several renowned fast-food industry experts, which have previously worked for other fast-food chains such as Burger King.
- After a successful IPO, Back Yard Burgers opened various new restaurants and launched a TV advertising campaign, making fun of its competitors. In 1995, however, Back Yard Burgers saw a decrease in sales, which it attributed to the increasingly competitive market and its lack of indoor seating. To address this, Back Yard Burgers introduced indoor seating to its restaurants, along with the removal of one drive-through window (previously, there were two). This way, the restaurant chain introduced the "fast-casual" dining segment to the dining industry.
- In the year 2000, Back Yard Burgers appointed Michael Myers as the restaurant chain's chief operating officer. Even though the company was steadily growing for the past few years, this individual introduced several changes to the restaurants' operations, including labeling the restaurant as a 'premium' brand. This caused the company to lose a share of its customers, but it quickly regained traction after performing a successful rebranding in 2001.
- In 2003, Yum! Brands planned to acquire the restaurant chain, which it ultimately didn't do. In 2007, Michael sold his company to a group of investors. Consequently, the company's headquarters were moved to Tennessee.
- Under the new governing, several new restaurant regulations were implemented. Some franchisees denied listening to these introductions, which resulted in restaurant closures and decreasing sales across the restaurant chain. The company's downfall escalated in 2012, when the restaurant chain's CEO was fired after allegations of a physical assault. Consequently, Back Yard Burgers declared bankruptcy.
- Pharos Capital's investment "saved" Back Yard Burgers in 2013. David McDougall was appointed as the new CEO. He declared he will not implement the regulations his predecessors introduced. The new CEO has stopped focusing on the restaurant's expansion and decided to focus on growth in the Southeast US.
Back Yard Burgers — locations
- As of July 2017, Back Yard Burgers has 23 company-owned locations and 32 franchised restaurants. This is a significant decrease from 2007, when the chain operated 180 units across the US.
- As of 2018, Scott Schotter is the CEO of Back Yard Burgers. He has previously worked as a Vice President of Operations at Moe's Southwest Grill.
- Michael G. Webb is the chief financial officer at Back Yard Burgers. Prior to this position, he served as a financial analyst at the Promus Hotel Corporation.
- Bryan Bennett is the director of operations at Back Yard Burgers. His work history appears unavailable.
- The company's CMO couldn't be found. Wade Breaux is the company's current Vice President of Marketing.
Back Yard Burgers — financials
- It is estimated that Back Yard Burgers sees $120 million in revenue annually. The company is privately held, which makes it likely it hasn't published relevant financial information.
For the historic part of the request, slightly outdated sources have been used.
Regardless, recent information on the number of company's franchises couldn't be found. It is possible current figures are different from those presented in the brief, given that the most recent available information comes from July 2017. We searched the company's website, press releases and available reports, but it was found that the company doesn't publish internal information, although franchising pricing and requirements have been disclosed. Third-party reports were also searched, but recent information wasn't available. The number of franchises was mentioned in July 2017, when the company was acquired by Axum Capital Partners.
Also, the Chief Marketing Officer of the company couldn't be identified, even after approaching the research in the following ways:
First, third-party sources were searched, including but not limited to Restaurant Business Online, Nashville Post and Reference for Business. Our goal here was to locate recent statements from the company's CEO, interviews with the individual or reports on marketing campaigns he/she has done. Although Back Yard Burgers' agency of record was found this way, no mentions of the company's CMO could be found.
We turned to company databases such as Linkedin and Crunchbase, where we aimed to locate leadership information, but even though the VP of Marketing was found this way, the CMO didn't appear to have a profile on such databases.
Lastly, we tried to trace the current CMO by locating reports on past CMO resignations. We aimed to identify CMOs who have succeeded the previous chief marketing officers, in order to determine whether they still hold these positions. This strategy didn't work because successors' information wasn't mentioned, even though previous CMO resignations were uncovered, such as that of Monte Jump in 2015.