BUBBA Branches Out
Now that his company boasts the No. 1-selling frozen burger in the land, Washington and Lee alumnus Billy Morris, of the Class of 1981, is taking a new step by opening four new restaurants in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. According to a story in the Florida Times-Union last week, the new Original BUBBA Burger Grills will feature the same BUBBA Burgers the company sells in grocery stores across the country.
Billy is president and CEO of Hickory Foods, a privately held management company that owns BUBBA Burger. If you’re not familiar with the BUBBA story, here is a history of the burger on its website. When Billy and his partner bought the company in 2000 from its founder, Walter “Bubba” Eaves, BUBBA was selling three million burgers a year. For 2010, the company projected selling 80 million burgers. There are now 10 different BUBBAS from which to choose, including the turkey BUBBA, the Jalapeno BUBBA and the half-pound Texas-shaped BUBBA.
The new Jacksonville restaurants may be just the beginning. Billy told the Florida Times-Union that he can envision opening 100 restaurants over the next five years, but that he hasn’t decided whether to use corporate ownership or franchises.
Meantime, BUBBA Burgers have become a staple on the NASCAR circuit (Richmond International Speedway hosted the BUBBA Burger 250 last March), at numerous other sporting venues, including Chicago’s Wrigley Field, and in military commissaries in the U.S. and abroad.