Never Say Die

How a family beat the odds (and the weather) to improve a franchise
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This story appears in the December 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

They started out 10 years ago with no experience and an out-of-place Back Yard Burgers restaurant. But Scott Prewitt, 33, brother Steven Prewitt, 39, and brother-in-law Tony Mansoor, 31, overcame the obstacles . . . and revolutionized the Back Yard Burgers franchise system along the way.

"One of our goals was to move as a family to the mountains of western North Carolina," Scott explains. The Jackson, Mississippi, natives began researching Back Yard Burgers as a means to realize their dreams.

In September 1992, they opened their first Back Yard Burgers in Boone, North Carolina. Though they were inexperienced, Scott says that potential deficit "was a benefit." With nothing to unlearn, the family easily adapted to Back Yard Burgers Inc.'s system.

Another potential negative the family turned into a positive was the weather. Their Back Yard Burgers location consisted solely of double drive-thrus with no inside dining. In the snowy mountains of North Carolina, that was a problem. "We were doing everything we could just to survive," Scott says of their first year. But the next year, the family convinced Back Yard Burgers to let them close one drive-thru and build a dining room. Sales more than doubled, and today, nearly all Back Yard Burgers locations have followed its lead.

The family's Boone restaurant pulled in just under $2 million in 2001, becoming the top-grossing Back Yard Burgers for the sixth year running. Now Scott, Steven and Tony are the operating partners of Family Only Inc., through which they run three Back Yard Burgers restaurants and planned to open a fourth by press time.

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Back Yard Burgers Inc.
Edition: July 2017

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