Back Yard Burgers

Out of the Ashes

While bankruptcy has its pitfalls, restaurant companies are increasingly finding that it also provides an opportunity for a fresh start.
Quick service chains file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to save brand legacy.
Friendly's CEO John Maguire says the company has streamlined the menu, initiated store upgrades, and rolled out an employee training program since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011.

Once slandered as the “B word,” bankruptcy is finding new life as an opportunity for new beginnings. Blue-chip brands like Eddie Bauer, Delta Air Lines, and the Chicago Cubs are among the list of house-hold business names that have filed for bankruptcy in modern times, times in which even city governments—the most notable being Detroit—have looked to bankruptcy to solve fiscal woes. Those once-bankrupt American institutions, along with more than 1 million personal bankruptcies each year, suggest that the “B word” may have has lost at least some of its bite.

Vegging Out

Beef, pork, poultry, and seafood may be the staples of the limited-service restaurant industry, but non-meat items aren’t taking a back seat on the menu these days. Although vegetarians make up a small percentage of the American dining population, an increasing number of consumers are deciding to eat less meat.

“Ten years ago, it might have seemed like a fad, with just a small population, but it’s been constantly increasing,” says Jesse Gideon, corporate chef and chief operating officer for Fresh To Order, a 10-unit fast-casual chain based in Atlanta.

Back Yard Burgers Goes Bigger, Better for Newest Item

Nashville, Tennessee-based burger chain Back Yard Burgers announced the launch of its noticeably thicker and juicer “Bigger, Better Burger”, a 1/3-pound premium chargrilled Black Angus patty with choice of add-ons, including American cheese, Swiss cheese, hot Pepper Jack cheese, Cheddar cheese, coleslaw, chili, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, and jalapeños.

The new burger is a permanent addition to the menu.

Back Yard Burgers Debuts First-Ever Fish Sandwich

Just in time for the Lenten season, Back Yard Burgers is adding a meat-free option for its guests, the Bold and Crunchy Fish Sandwich, available through March 31, 2013, at all of Back Yard Burgers’ 83 locations.

The new fish sandwich—the first systemwide fish sandwich for Back Yard Burgers—is a crunchy tortilla-crusted tilapia fillet, topped off with a blackened creole mayo and served up on a toasted roll.

Back Yard Burgers Hits Final Stage in Restructuring Plan

Back Yard Burgers, a leading regional quick-service restaurant chain, announced the final phase of a plan to restructure debt, reduce operating expenses, and position Back Yard Burgers to grow its business, including opening more locations throughout its targeted markets domestically and internationally.

The restructuring plan has the support of both the company’s majority owner and secured lender.

Back Yard Burgers Debuts Bourbon Chicken Sandwich

Back Yard Burgers, Inc. is rolling out a new Bourbon Street Grilled Chicken Sandwich for its early summer promotion that runs now through the end of June.

The sandwich is a grilled, all-white, boneless breast of chicken brushed with a spicy bourbon sauce. The sandwich is dressed with sliced tomato, leaf lettuce, and mayo and served on a toasted bun.

According to Dave Hintz, marketing director/menu development, the Bourbon Street Chicken Sandwich provides a flavor profile that is new to the line of grilled chicken sandwiches on the Back Yard Burgers menu.

Trickle-Down Theory

There was a time when the only place you could find Black Angus beef on a menu was at some of the nation’s finest steakhouses. But these days, Angus burgers are served at McDonald’s, Back Yard Burgers, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, and Smashburger and are just one of many fine-dining menu items, ingredients, and techniques that were adopted by quick-service and fast-casual restaurants over the last decade.

Cheap Marketing Tips that Work

In the teeth of the recession, Back Yard Burgers developed a new, slimmed-down marketing strategy. The roughly 200-unit, Nashville, Tennessee–based chain cut costs across the board, developed a slick-looking website, and created a social media strategy centered on Facebook and Twitter.

But Ken King, a senior consultant with National Restaurant Consultants Inc., says this was a disaster.

“Their same-store sales in some stores are down as much as 20 or 30 percent,” King says. “They’re just not reaching the public at all.”

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