Monday, April 10, 2006

BK Bye-Bye

BK Bye-Bye

Friday's Biz Journal reports on the shuttering of the five Burger King franchises owned by the Valenti brothers and a number of Florida-based retiree co-investors.

As noted by Steve Patterson, the one on South Grand and Keokuk closed almost a month ago. The others seem to have closed up in the past couple weeks.

The locations now closed are:

South St. Louis City

1340 S. 7th St. at Park/Broadway
3861 S. Grand Blvd. at Keokuk
2500 S. Jefferson Ave. at Victor/Gravois

St. Louis County

14124 Manchester Road, Manchester
126 Kenrick Plaza, Shrewsbury

This cuts in half the number of BKs in the City, from six to three.

I've been to all three city locations and the one in Shrewsbury at one time or another. None of them impressed me in terms of cleanliness, service, or speed.

Interestingly, the article quotes the owner of the other three franchises, Charlie Fogg, as saying "he knew C.J.F.'s restaurants on Grand Avenue and South Seventh Street have been suffering from low customer volume for a while. 'I'm not surprised that the restaurants closed.' "

Fogg's locations are at 3259 Hampton Ave. (near Fyler), 5025 Delmar Blvd. (near Kingshighway), and 5030 Natural Bridge Ave. (near Kingshighway).

I've been to the Delmar one a few times; it does seem better, and considerably busier at lunchtime, than those Grand, Jefferson and 7th stores. I've probably been to the Hampton location, but not in years.

All six BK locations in the city were built between 1984 and 1989, so they all look about the same. But that also means they're all due for remodeling according to BK corporate, which itself is struggling.

St. Louis, apparently, is a highly competitive fast-food market. Note the number of Wendy's, Hardee's and yes even McDonald's locations that have closed up over the years on main roads in both city and county. Many such buildings have been (rather poorly) adapted to other uses.

Anyway, with the BKs closing, what about Mr. James Proctor? He's the owner of the MickeyD's at Grand and Chippewa, as well as at:
4420 S. Broadway @ I-55
1919 S. Jefferson Ave. @ I-44
4620 S. Kingshighway Blvd. @ Murdoch Ave;
and I think one more?

At one point, he or his family members owned a dozen franchises in the area.

Anyway, it seems like these closures would help out Mr. Proctor's bottom line. Less competition down the street from the Grand store would make it more possible for him to pay for remodeling or replacing it without tax abatement!

But Mr. Proctor is quite well-connected politically, unlike the BK ownership group. As a 2002 Biz Journal piece notes, he's been on the Convention & Visitors Commission board since 1991.

Sure, Proctor 'gives back' to the community more than those BK guys did. But is that really a good reason to let him get away with an atrocious site plan and little to no respect for the needs and interests of the neighborhood?


Anonymous said...

If only the Mickey D's could relocate to the closed BK just south of Chippewa, then Pyramid could still get their desired senior housing site, and South Grand would still have one less drive-thru.

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

Good point from the above poster!

BK has not been a part of my life in years, but I do suspect it will be soon, since I will soon start working very near one of the North Side Burger Kings...and...well.... those salads aren't mind blowing, but you try finding a cheap vegetarian meal on the North Side, let alone an appetizing, filling, or healthy one!

Also of interest, Michael found an awesome site about bad conversions of former fast food restaurants: Not Fooling Anybody