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Oatmeal 06-24-2003 06:36 AM

Burger business ready for big time

From their small restaurant on Queen and Alakea streets downtown, which opened in February 2002, two local entrepreneurs are getting ready to shake up both the fast-food world and vegetarians nationwide.

As serious carnivores for many years, Anthony Spadaro and Wes Zane seem the two men least likely to launch a chain of all-vegetarian burger joints.

Tony Spadaro is probably best known as the fourth generation of a family sausage-making business; while Zane ran Hy's Steakhouse in Waikiki for more than 20 years.

But when they launch their Mr. Goodburger's line of vegetarian burger restaurants on the mainland, the reason for their notoriety may change. Their first store opens in Missoula, Mont., next month with restaurants following in California; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Denver, Colo.; Washington, D.C.; and Florida.

They expect to franchise 100 stores in the first year and also are looking for franchisees who are interested in opening up in Japan.

The two men first came together over lunch two years ago when Zane went to talk to Spadaro about an idea he had for producing a local beefburger. Unknown to Zane, Spadaro had been busy experimenting with a line of meat-free soy-based products for a few years.

Six hours later the two came up with their plan to launch a chain of quick serve restaurants that would serve a range of veggie burgers. With Spadaro's production expertise and Zane's years of running a restaurant, the two believe they hit on a winning combination. Since that time, they've taken on other investors who each contribute something to the business, including expertise in advertising and branding products, Zane said.

They plan to license out the recipe for the burger patties to a contract packager who'll create the batch mix, Zane said. Franchisees will be able to order all needed supplies on a secure company Web site.

Start-up costs for franchisees range from $135,000 to $165,000 depending on the size of the store. That includes a franchise fee of $25,000.

Generally the two biggest start-up costs for restaurants are grease traps and oven hoods, Zane said. Because grease is not involved in the cooking process, neither item is needed at Mr. Goodburger's.

"We use a panini grill -- similar to a George Foreman-type grill -- and the oven we use to bake our french fries is an electric convection oven."

Not needing as much space for cooking items also means the stores can be smaller -- ideally about 900 square feet, Zane said.

"That will also allow us to be more flexible on the places we can go," he said.

With a motto of "Living Healthy Never Tasted So Good," Zane said he believes their products will appeal to a large untapped market hungry for a healthy alternative, especially in light of the series of scandals that have dogged the meat industry in recent years.

It will also attract those who have to watch what they eat for medical reasons.

For Zane, who was diagnosed with severe blocked arteries and underwent angioplasty, to be able to open a string of restaurants that offer heart-healthy food has particular appeal.

"I never wanted to look back years later and have to say 'woulda, coulda, shoulda,' " he said.

Mr. Goodburger's has already attracted some attention nationally. This week the Honolulu restaurant was given "The Golden Bun" award by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The Norfolk, Va.-based animal rights organization believes the veggie burger has come of age and it was time to accord it some recognition, said Joe Haptas, campaign coordinator for PETA.

According to PETA, the panel of judges included both vegetarians and meat-eaters in order to ensure that the widest cross-section of tastes and preferences was taken into account.

While a lot of major fast food chains are starting to carry vegetarian burgers, the award means Mr. Goodburger's stand out, Haptas said.

The judges also liked the fact that each Mr. Goodburger's veggie burger is named after a popular city and designed with that city's flair in mind, he said. For example, the San Antonio burger, reflecting its southwest origins, is topped with vegetarian chili, lettuce and tomatoes while the Sacramento burger includes an avocado topping.

Other cities include New Orleans, Memphis and, of course, Honolulu. The island burger has a patty that blends in nori and ginger, and a topping of pineapple and mango.

"Mr Goodburger's offers many different varieties, flavors and textures and they offer creative condiments so I believe they represent the cutting edge of veggie burgers," Haptas

Fenguin 06-24-2003 07:46 AM


I wonder how long before they make it to Phoenix.

epski 06-24-2003 01:32 PM

So, are all their burgers vegan? I may have to set up a franchise here in LA...

dk_art 06-24-2003 01:58 PM

"So, are all their burgers vegan? I may have to set up a franchise here in LA..."

We should write these people and tell them what a wonderful idea it is and to stress the fact that vegan ingredients are easily gotten and they would increase their business to those people. Also stress that by being vegan ingredients, people with kosher and lactose-intollerance would be welcome too.

This would be cool if it caught on

muppetcow 06-25-2003 11:11 AM

If only I had $165,000 and didn't get completely burned out working in restaurants when I was in college...

I predict there will be a Mr. Goodburger in every city with a population over 300,000 at least 4 years before there is one in Omaha.

Mskedi 06-25-2003 12:54 PM

Originally posted by epski

So, are all their burgers vegan? I may have to set up a franchise here in LA...

Need a franchise partner?

Sounds yummy... it doesn't say where in CA it will be, though... they'd be crazy if they didn't put it in L.A. or O.C., so I ought to be okay.

epski 06-25-2003 02:44 PM

Originally posted by Mskedi

Need a franchise partner?

I'd love a franchise partner!

Peebs 06-25-2003 07:29 PM

I hope they come to Calgary!

GhostUser 06-26-2003 12:04 PM

Originally posted by Fenguin


I wonder how long before they make it to Phoenix.

First off... My eyes went DIRECTLY to your title. Never thought I'd find another on here! (I hoped I would though)

Second... Yes, Phoenix NEEDS one of these.. I don't really ever eat out anymore. And it would be nice to have something else that's convenient.

Mskedi 06-26-2003 12:22 PM

Originally posted by epski

I'd love a franchise partner!

So if I put $20 down, that means I get 20% of the profits, right?

Maybe I should just work for you flipping burgers...

epski 06-26-2003 12:31 PM

Maybe so, Mskedi... some partner...

Muzicfan 06-26-2003 01:47 PM

notice they have a sacramento burger.. woo hoo

Walter 07-02-2003 08:50 PM

That's awesome. I want a Vermont burger with Maple Syrup. MMmmm...

I found the site -

It doesn't list ingrediants however.

with_open_eyes 07-03-2003 02:52 PM

wow - sounds great. i hope it is all vegan.

it is stated on the nutrition page that all of their burgers contain NO cholesterol, check it out here

goodburgers contain no cholesterol, are high in fibre and have only 5 grams of saturated fat

Tofu 07-04-2003 07:57 PM

Thanks for that Oatmeal! Very cool!! Here's to hoping that they will be everywhere!

stellar26 07-07-2003 02:49 PM

I want one in Minneapolis! That would be so awsome.

with_open_eyes 07-11-2003 01:24 AM

hey everyone!

thought you might like to know that i got an email back from mr goodburgers as to whether their burgers are vegan or not, here is the response >>>

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your wonderful email. Sifting through some 4000 per day tend to get a bit heavy on the eyes.

I do try my best to respond to all.

To answer your concerns, all of Mr. Goodburgers Patties, are 100% Animal free, meatless. Where utilized within the recipes of our patties, we only use very good quality vegan cheddar. Our rolls contain no eggs or diary. Tofutti brand cheeses have become extremely popular in our stores, I love the flavor!

Feel free to drop a note anytime, once again thank you Sarah for you wishes of support.

All the best


epski 07-11-2003 06:43 AM


Okay, time to get the U.S. government to fund my start-up business as a franchisee of Mr. Goodburgers!

GhostUser 07-11-2003 06:48 AM

If I had three thumbs, I'd give this a three thumbs up. This is just awesome! Now to get them to come to Milwaukee....

GhostUser 07-11-2003 06:57 AM

cool! come 2 oz!

SallyK 07-11-2003 10:27 AM

I second the motion for one in Mpls!

This is very exciting. I feel something in the world changing lately....

Kurmudgeon 07-11-2003 10:32 AM

I'm all for this place here Down Under (I don't despise ALL Americanization of my country).

GhostUser 07-11-2003 11:44 AM

this sounds amazing!!

all i need is the franchising to be available in Ontario and for 280,000 people to move to my city

or i'll have to live vicariously through epski

epski 07-11-2003 05:53 PM

I'll add it to my extensive task list.

michael_veggie 07-14-2003 07:17 AM

Oh please come to Australia

GhostUser 07-22-2003 01:25 AM

i checked out their website to see if they were in my area [nyc]. i gave them a buzz- and this woman actually called me back! how often does sometihng like that happen?? we must help mr. goodburger survive! even though veggie fast food sounds like an oxymoron, it is needed.

Bagger9 03-22-2004 02:13 PM

Hi all! I found this old thread & thought I should get it going again since Mr. Goodburger's is on the move! The first store is is Hawaii & the second store, the first on the mainland will be opening in MIssoula, Montana next week!

I am going to be opening a franchise or 2 or 3 in the Northeastern PA area in early 2005! This is really going to take off & be a wonderful thing - there will be several hundred Mr. Goodburger's throughout the country in the next 3 years....keep a look out!

MollyGoat 03-22-2004 02:30 PM

SO EXCITED! Don't know where I'll be settling down after college, but I hope it's somewhere with a Mr. Goodburger.

The world is changing, my friends

epski 03-22-2004 03:27 PM

Well, I hope you do open those... Now I need someone to open a few here on the West Coast!

Jadzia 03-22-2004 04:10 PM

I noticed in the article in the first post it mentioned Ann Arbor, Michigan. I wonder if that is still happening?

I am about 45 minutes away from Ann Arbor but my husband works there. I'd love to have him bring home Mr. Goodburgers for dinner!

Tame 03-22-2004 04:25 PM

I'm just baffled the first mainland location is in Montana.

Jimdavis 03-22-2004 04:30 PM

Originally Posted by Tame View Post

I'm just baffled the first mainland location is in Montana.

Yeah, I thought that too... but then I did a Google search and found out that Vegetarian Times named Missoula one of the 13 most veg-friendly small towns.

Still seems a bit weird...


epski 03-22-2004 04:34 PM

I guess they figure if it can survive there, it can survive anywhere...

Loki 03-22-2004 08:11 PM

It's quite an expensive franchise!!!! I wonder how many will go for it. It seems to be quite a high risk one as well.

chiaraluna 03-22-2004 08:14 PM

Ann Arbor, eh? If I go to Michigan, I am so going to be their number one customer...

Bagger9 03-22-2004 09:08 PM

Originally Posted by Loki View Post

It's quite an expensive franchise!!!! I wonder how many will go for it. It seems to be quite a high risk one as well.

Actually is is very inexpensive as franchises go. The franchise fee alone for a Subway is more than $100,000!

Yes, it is risky, but it will be all about advertising & getting people to try it. The people who developed Goodburger's really know what they are doing & the taste is like nothing else you have ever had - any brand of frozen veggie burger will never be the same after you have had a Mr. Goodburger's.

Mr. Goodburger's is poised to change the quick serve restaurant business - it can be good AND healthy!

Tame 03-22-2004 09:45 PM

I'm glad to see them, and I hope they fly, but I personally wouldn't invest in one or the company as a whole. Seems to be a bit of a niche market still.

'Course, if I stumble on to one, and really like it, then my opinion may change.

WonderRandy 03-22-2004 10:39 PM

I've been dying to make a trip to Honolulu ever since this was first posted!! If someone wanted to start one over here in Hilo, I'd be your first and happiest customer!!

Walter 03-22-2004 10:43 PM

Tame, you weren't the only one who was surprised that the first on the mainland was in Montana. That was my first thought!

Oh man, how exciting is this though? The chance that there could be a successful vegetarian chain of restaurants? This is one chain I'd be all about supporting!

missleigh 03-22-2004 10:46 PM

There is a write up on Mr. Goodburger in the newest VegNews. Someone, open one up in Atlanta!

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