According to David Crawford, senior vice president of marketing for Big Boy Restaurants, increased competition as well changes in the summer population of Ann Arbor were major influences in the company's closure.
said that while there were various reasons the business closed, the most prominent was that it was difficult to devote the attention necessary to @burger with such a large number of Big Boy Restaurants
to attend to.
"I think a big (reason) is that we have 140 Big Boys, and so our focus is really tight now on the Big Boy
"There were some lessons we got out of the chain, but again, our focus remains Big Boy
so we wanted to make sure that was front and center."
added another significant reason for the decision to close the business involved decreased sales and increased competition from other restaurants.
"The chain did increase some increased competition that we didn't see when we first opened - this was the Five Guys that was built on State (Street) in our "burger proximity" if you will - within half a block," Crawford
said the significant decline in the student population at the end of the winter semester and the beginning of spring semester also contributed heavily to a decline in sales, which prompted the decision.
"I didn't expect such a noticeable drop off from students when the students left for the summer," Crawford
added that sales had been significantly higher during the fall semester, before Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened on State Street.
"We had probably done double the sales volume … during the football season and then when winter came we had a noticeable drop-off, just because I think people don't get out and walk as much," Crawford
Though the company intends to use some of the menu items from the @burger restaurant, there are no plans to open a similar restaurant in the future, Crawford
"There is some great burger research that we did for that chain that we'll start to utilize in our Big Boy business," he
However, while the @burger brand has been retired indefinitely, Crawford
said there is still possibility for the opening of a Big Boy restaurant in Ann Arbor.
"I love Ann Arbor, in terms of community and the lower unemployment rate and just the general culture of the city is just perfectly suited for us," he