Back Yard Burgers

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Back Yard Burgers, Inc.
GenreQuick service
FoundedApril 21, 1987 (35 years ago) (1987-04-21) in Cleveland, Mississippi
FounderLattimore M. Michael
Number of locations
38 (2022)
Area served
Southern and Midwestern United States
Key people
Dennis Pfaff (CEO)
ProductsHamburgers  • chicken products  • french fries  • milkshakes  • salads  • hot dogs  • chili products
RevenueIncrease US$37 Million (2021)
OwnerAxum Capital Partners
Number of employees
2,200 (2021)
Footnotes / references

Back Yard Burgers, Inc., is an American regional franchise chain of quick serve restaurants. As of March 2022, there are 38 restaurants[2] in the Southern and Midwestern United States. Back Yard Burgers is a subsidiary of private equity firm Axum Capital Partners, and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.

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.[3] Back Yard Burgers also offers salads, onion rings, and other side items as optional replacements for fries in its combo meals, and also offers chicken/turkey alternatives.


Logo used until 2016

The first Back Yard Burgers restaurant opened in Cleveland, Mississippi, on March 21, 1987 by Lattimore M. Michael. Originally, the chain consisted of only drive-through restaurants without any dine-in facilities, but most locations have since added them. In recent years, the company has emphasized the quality of Black Angus beef.

A co-branded Back Yard Burgers - Taco Bell restaurant in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, photo taken January 2003

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 with 140 locations 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.[4] A significant aspect of the purchase was relocation of the company's corporate headquarters from Memphis to Nashville. In February 2009, Zeisling 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.[5][6] 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.[7]

In October 2012, the company, headed by James Boyd as CEO, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[8] The filings listed debt at about $62 million and assets around $13 million.[9] Around the same time, Back Yard Burgers closed 22 stores in several states.[10] 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[11]

In January 2013, just four months after the bankruptcy filing, Back Yard 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 nor C. Stephen Lynn was mentioned as investors responsible for financing the emergence of Back Yard Burgers from bankruptcy.[12] Back Yard Burgers appointed a new CEO, David McDougal;[13] Michael G Webb is the CFO.[14]

In July 2017, Axum Capital Partners "bought a controlling stake" in Back Yard Burgers from Pharos Capital Group LLC.[15][16] Back Yard Burger's entity name is Tantum Companies, LLC.[17]

In July 2018, Scott Shotter replaced David McDougal as Chief executive officer (CEO).[18]

In May 2020, Dennis Pfaff, an industry veteran from Red Lobster and Friendly's, took over as CEO.

On September 18, 2020, Back Yard Burgers opened a new prototype store in Gastonia, North Carolina.[19]

In 2022, Back Yard Burgers was named one of America's favorite brands by Newsweek.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Company Overview of Back Yard Burgers, Inc". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  2. ^ "Locations". Back Yard Burgers. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  3. ^ "Back Yard Burgers returns to Rogers". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. October 18, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  4. ^ [1] Archived November 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Published July 25, 2012 by Pierce Greenberg (July 25, 2012). "Back Yard Burgers boardroom bust-up leads to suit". Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 31, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Published September 5, 2012 by Pierce Greenberg (September 5, 2012). "Another Back Yard exec sues company, CEO". Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  8. ^ "Back Yard Burgers Inc. files Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - Memphis Business Journal". October 17, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Duncan, Nicole (September 5, 2017). "How Back Yard Burgers Returned from the Brink". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  10. ^ "Back Yard Burgers closes six Memphis restaurants - Memphis Business Journal". October 17, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Back Yard Burgers To Be Acquired - Restaurant News". QSR magazine. June 11, 2007. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  12. ^ Evanoff, Ted (January 23, 2013). "Back Yard Burgers ready to emerge from bankruptcy with new CEO". The Commercial Appeal. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  13. ^ "Back Yard Burgers names Dave McDougall CEO - Nashville Business Journal". January 23, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  14. ^ "Michael G Webb". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  15. ^ Maze, Jonathan (July 10, 2017). "Axum Capital Partners buys Back Yard Burgers". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  16. ^ Snyder, Eric (July 11, 2017). "This Nashville-based restaurant chain has a new majority owner". Nashville Business Journal. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  17. ^ "Back Yard Burgers Now Offering Whole Cobblers, Prime Rib". QSR Magazine. December 18, 2017. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  18. ^ Ruggless, Ron (July 18, 2018). "Back Yard Burgers names Scott Shotter CEO". Nations Restaurant News. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  19. ^ Banks, Michael (September 19, 2020). "Back Yard Burgers makes its return to Gastonia". The Gaston Gazette. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  20. ^ "America's Favorite Restaurant Chains 2022". Newsweek. November 29, 2021.

External links[edit]