Saturday, March 21, 2015

How One Man Went from Collecting Unemployment to Owning a Burger Chain with Hundreds of Locations

By Kenney Moore

In 1990, Kenney Moore worked as a district manager in eastern North Carolina for Rob’s Cheesesteaks and Cheeseburgers.

The chain, now long since defunct, started going downhill thanks to a down economy and the Rob’s owner, who we just call Roberts, getting caught in many unsavory business schemes.

Kenney was tired of losing work and money and peace of mind because of matters out of his control.

If he was going to fail again, he wanted to fail at his thing.

Kenney knew that several Rob’s had closed down near Pink Hill, and he knew that that meant whoever owned those stores had nothing more than an empty restaurant and a bunch of restaurant equipment.

He had an idea. He would buy an old Rob’s and resurrect it into a restaurant of his own.

It was a perfect, insane, maybe kind of stupid idea. Rob’s began breaking down because Roberts was swindling seemingly everyone he could, but in eastern North Carolina back in the early 90s, even the most upstanding of businessmen were struggling.

After a brief boom in the late 1980s, the American economy went into another recession in 1990, and although parts of the country had recovered, small rural towns like Greenville, and especially the tiny towns like Pink Hill, were still hurting. “Recessions hurt everyone in the country,” Kenney says, “but what a lot of people don’t realize is that during recessions, little towns like these get killed.”

Less than a week after the CPAs fired him, Kenney started calling around to the groups who owned the old Rob’s stores, asking if he could buy the equipment and re-open under a new brand.

John Howard was part of a group in Greenville that had a closed Rob’s in another nearby eastern North Carolina town, Goldsboro, about 40 minutes from Pink Hill, and Howard and his group liked Kenney — they’d even tried to hire him away from the CPAs before.

Kenney said that if Howard would in-house finance the Goldsboro store’s equipment — that is, provide him with his own loan instead of making Kenney go to a bank — then Kenney would pay him $32,500 for it.

“You know that if you go to a used equipment dealer with it, you’ll get 10 or 15,” Kenney told him. “But I’ll give you 32.5 with an interest rate. You’ll just have to start the payments next month, obviously.”

Read the rest here.

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