Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Well, now, something more important than football!

Group to open 17 Whataburgers in area

News staff writer
A group of Texas businessmen is hoping to take a bite out of Birmingham's hamburger market with plans to open 17 metro area burger restaurants.

B&F Holdings, headed by Jerrell Baird of Austin, are scheduled to sign a franchise agreement today at the Corpus Christi headquarters of Whataburger Inc. that will bring the chain to Birmingham for the first time.

B&F's first area restaurant is slated to open by late summer or early fall, depending on site and development progress, said company spokeswoman Rebecca Bowers. The Whataburger Web site said potential franchisees must have a net worth of at least $500,000 and put up assets of $200,000.

"Our group is proud to bring Whataburger's 54-year tradition of excellent service and made-to-order food to the Birmingham area," Baird said in a release. "We want to play a significant role in the Birmingham community and hope to employ over 700 people as we grow and actively support the area."

Three in Mobile:

Robert Robicheaux, a University of Alabama at Birmingham professor and retailing expert, said the influx of 17 new burger restaurants in Birmingham would definitely impact others in the industry.

"That is quite a significant investment," he said. "If they put 17 restaurants here, it would take a big bite out of the Birmingham market. The bigger question is whether Birmingham consumers will continue to support fast food as in the past. Kids are getting fatter so parents are putting more emphasis on teaching them to eat better."

Robicheaux said independent hamburger chains such as Milo's, Jack's, Hamburger Heaven as well as national chains McDonald's, Burger King and Hardee's all have loyal followings here, but they may see a decline in sales depending on how quickly Whataburger jumps into the market.

"It may lead to a decline in prices and better customer service," he said. [...]

Well, maybe temporarily, but prices can only go so low before someone has to go out of business, and given the highly competitive nature of the food service market around here, there might just be 17 empty former Whataburger joints in a couple of years.

And better customer service?


Unless they have some secret plan to hire something other than minimum wage-earning, slack-jawed high schoolers with all of their well-known self-motivation and warm personality, I don't think there's going to be much of a noticeable improvement. The best run fast-food places seem to require an inordinate amount of personal time invested by the owner (not just the manager) to make sure everything is running as it should.

Maybe they have something compellingly different in the basic ingredients of ground up cow, cheese, bread, pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and sauce, or maybe the Whataburger employee training regimen is as rigorous as BUD/S, but in order to make an impression around here they are going to have to hit the ground hard and keep after it for more than a couple of months. As that UAB prof notes, there's some awfully loyal eaters around here, as well as joints that ALSO have amazingly similar ground up cow, cheese, onions, etc.

I will say that my sister who lives in Mobile (site of the only three franchises in the state), has eaten there and says the food's okay. I think she really just like saying the name over and over, though. She also probably doesn't know that she could get a lovely musical nightlight.

Comments: Post a Comment

al.com - Alabama Weblogs

free hit counter
Visits since 12/20/2001--
so what if they're mostly me!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't
Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com