Monday, February 27, 2012

No more Andy's burgers ... well, sorta

Like Hardee's before it, Andy's Burgers, Shakes & Fries has become something of an Eastern North Carolina success story. The burger restaurant chain has been so successful, in fact, it is looking to branch out. And because of this, the restaurant has changed its name to Highway 55.

From a release:

Although the name is changing, the restaurant chain’s concept will stay the same as it’s been since its establishment in 1991 and Highway 55 will continue to deliver the brand’s traditional American classics in the same family-friendly, ‘50s diner setting. Patrons can expect to see the new Highway 55 signs in each of the 100 existing locations by the end of summer 2012, and in all new locations throughout the southeast.

The name change was sparked by a potential legal battle over the federal trademark for the name Andy’s that arose as the company prepared to expand outside of its home state. After being known as Andy’s for 20 years, founder and president Kenny Moore decided that a systemwide switch to Highway 55 was the most cost effective way to grow the brand, and would mark the beginning of its next 20 years of success.

“We’re looking at the name change as a positive opportunity to start new and fresh,” Moore said. “Customers will see we’re the same Andy’s they’ve always known, the only difference is the new name. What we’ve built for the past 20 years isn’t going to change at all.”

The company certainly knows where its bread is buttered.

"To celebrate the new name, a mural map of Highway 55, a 192-mile highway stretching across North Carolina from Durham to Oriental, will be painted on the walls of each location. A timeline painted above the map will give patrons a glimpse of Highway 55’s history from 1991 to the present," said the release.

“Some of our locations are 20 years old, so we are using the shift to Highway 55 as a way to refurbish,” said Moore. “We’re changing uniforms and signage – we’ll gradually phase out the old name and logos.”

Moore originally selected the name Andy’s back in 1991 when he opened his first location in Goldsboro, N.C. Andy, Moore’s son, was 18 months old at the time. Since its inception, the chain has stayed true to its classic American concept while growing to include more than 100 restaurants across North Carolina. This year, as Highway 55, the chain will expand outside of North Carolina for the first time when a location opens in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Myrtle Beach restaurant is the start of a greater plan to open 275 additional restaurants in the southeast over the next 6-7 years.

Of those 275 locations, area development agreements are in the works to open 100 locations in Florida—with the first location to open in Palm City— 75 locations in western North Carolina, and 50 locations in South Carolina and Virginia each. A new location in Snow Hill, N.C. is slated to open in mid-February, and the Myrtle Beach location will open before April. Looking ahead to the fourth quarter of 2012, a store in Greenville, N.C. is planned to open near the end of the year.

Longtime Andy’s franchisees J.R. Cottle and Chris LaCoe are partnering together to develop the 50 upcoming South Carolina Highway 55 locations. Cottle currently owns three North Carolina restaurants—in Rockingham, Lumberton and Locust, and LaCoe owns four in Gum Branch, Leland, Shallotte and Surf City.

“We’re positioned to go into this year with a new name, a fresh start and ambitious plans for growth,” Moore said. “People will watch and see Highway 55 really take off this year.”

Thoughts on this? I'm kinda "meh" with the name change.

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