Back Yard Burgers
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2009)|
|Founded||Cleveland, Mississippi (1987)|
|Founder(s)||Lattimore M. Michael|
|Headquarters||Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.|
|Number of locations||86|
|Area served||Southern and Midwestern United States|
|Products||Fast Food (including hamburgers, chicken products, french fries, milkshakes, salads, hot dogs, chili products, and baked potatoes)|
Back Yard Burgers, Inc. is a regional franchise chain of quick serve restaurants. Its headquarters is located in Nashville, Tennessee. As of August 2008, there are 171 Back Yard Burgers locations in 20 states throughout the Southern and Midwestern United States, chiefly in Tennessee and Mississippi.
Although it is the most common commercial breed in the country, the franchise's marketing tries to distinguish itself from other hamburger chains by the use of 100% Black Angus Beef. Back Yard Burgers also offers salads, baked potatoes, or other side items as optional replacements for fries in its combo meals, and also offers a vegetarian garden burger.
The first Back Yard Burgers restaurant opened in Cleveland, Mississippi in 1987. Originally, the chain consisted of only drive-through restaurants with no dine-in facilities, but most locations have since added dine-in facilities. In recent years, the company has emphasized the quality of Black Angus Beef.
In 2002, Back Yard Burgers and Yum! Brands, Inc. temporarily entered into a development agreement whereby Yum! had an option to co-brand Back Yard Burgers' trademarks with its other restaurants' trademarks, including Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC. In 2004, however, after Yum! chose not to exercise its option, the two companies abandoned this plan as Yum! began revitalization of the A&W brand of hamburgers and root beer.
In August 2007 the then publicly traded company was purchased for US$38 million by a group of investors led by C. Stephen Lynn, the former Chairman of Shoney's who also previously served as Sonic's Chief Executive Officer, and Reid M. Zeising of Cherokee Advisors. A significant aspect of the purchase was relocation of the company's corporate headquarters from Memphis to Nashville.
In February 2009, Reid M. Zeising of Cherokee Advisors resigned as Executive Chairman of the Board.
In the summer of 2012, events at the company pointed to marked internal discord. The CEO, James Boyd, was accused of physical assault by Carl Diaz during a spring 2012 senior staff meeting. Diaz was then immediately fired by the company. The actual lawsuit may be found here. In September 2012, another employee, Andy Abbajay the company's COO, also filed suit against the company, alleging he too was mistreated after expressing concern about Diaz's dismissal.
In October 2012 the company, headed by James Boyd as CEO, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. On the same day, Back Yard Burgers declared the closure of multiple company owned stores. Cherokee Advisors owned the "BBAC Merger Sub" used as the acquisition vehicle in the merger. Cherokee's principal investors were reported to be Reid M. Zeising, Pharos Capital Group, LLC and C. Stephen Lynn  The bankruptcy filings for Back Yard Burgers listed debt of as much as $50 Million with assets of only as much as $10 Million.
In January 2013, just four months after the bankruptcy filing, Backyard Burger indicated it had received financing from its new owners, Pharos Capital, and was ready to emerge from bankruptcy, albeit with a new CEO. Neither Reid M. Zeising or C. Stephen Lynn were mentioned as investors responsible for financing the emergence of Backyard Burgers from bankruptcy. Backyard Burgers appointed a new CEO, David McDougal. Steve Neuroth, CFO of Backyard Burgers  and partner of Cherokee Advisors, has moved on to become CFO of Shoney's according to the most recent franchise kit of that organization.
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- Published July 25, 2012 by Pierce Greenberg (2012-07-25). "Back Yard Burgers boardroom bust-up leads to suit". nashvillepost.com. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- Published September 5, 2012 by Pierce Greenberg (2012-09-05). "Another Back Yard exec sues company, CEO". nashvillepost.com. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Back Yard Burgers Inc. files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - Memphis Business Journal". Bizjournals.com. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Back Yard Burgers closes six Memphis restaurants - Memphis Business Journal". Bizjournals.com. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Back Yard Burgers To Be Acquired - Restaurant News". QSR magazine. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Back Yard Burgers Seeks Bankruptcy Protection in Delaware". Businessweek. 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- Evanoff, Ted. "Back Yard Burgers ready to emerge from bankruptcy with new CEO". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Back Yard Burgers names Dave McDougall CEO - Nashville Business Journal". Bizjournals.com. 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
- "Cherokee Advisors is an Atlanta-based investment and advisory firm focusing on small to mid size investment opportunities". Cherokeeadvisors.com. Retrieved 2013-03-03.