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USC Burger King, 1211 College Street: 1990s   15 comments

Posted at 10:11 pm in closing

I was rather surprised when I learned in the 90s, that all of the Burger King restaurants in Columbia were run by the same franchisee. I know Columbia is not a huge city, but it's not tiny, and I just assumed that a chain like Burger King would have a number of local franchisees. Of course, the only reason I know this at all is because the local franchisee had a complete falling out with the Burger King corporation itself during the 1990s. I don't remember the details now, and I'm sure there was a lot of finger pointing on both sides, but the upshot was that all the Burger King restaurants in Columbia ended up being shut down -- all of them, and for a long time. It was kind of an unprecedented situation in my experience.

It didn't matter much to me becase a) I was living out of town at the time, and b) I was increasingly disenchanted with fast food places at the time (this was before outfits like Moe's and Five Guys made fast food fun again) and especially with Burger King. Nonetheless, it was odd to drive past all the Burger Kings and see them stitting empty. This particular Burger King was on College Street between Main and Sumter Streets right by Cool Beans coffee shop. I had eaten there a number of times over the years, and they always seemed to do a good business with the college crowd.

Eventually, corporate found new franchisees for most of the BKs in Columbia, and made an event of the general re-opening, even getting South Carolina's "Blues Doctor", Drink Small to cut some celeberatory commercials. By then though, the University had already bought the USC BK, and it never reopened. The building has since been razed, and the land is now yet another offical USC parking lot.

Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce!

UPDATE 22 March 2010: Added full street address to post title.

Written by ted on August 31st, 2008

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