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Monday, August 3, 2015

Halo Burger reluctant to leave in fall

By Christy Ryan

UM-Flint students will inhale the last few aromas of burgers and fries as Halo Burger makes its egress from the ever-expanding campus. It is not with pleasure, nor is it with resentment, but rather resignation that Halo Burger makes the final exit on April 21.

Halo Burger has served UM-Flint students for 5 1/2 years, since September 2002. However, this is not the first time Halo Burger has moved to fulfill UM-Flint's expanding needs. In 1979, Halo Burger was torn down to make room for parking. Now, Halo Burger is moving out to make room for a 24-hour food service, Sodexho, to service the new dorm students.

Halo Burger's CEO, Terry Thomas, son of Bill Thomas, Halo Burger's founder, said the university was initially excited for Halo Burger's potential gain from the incoming students.

"U of M got excited too!" said Thomas. But the excitement was premature, he said, as it was disclosed that the "new company might not want us down there."

Thomas said he understands why they were asked to leave.

"We understood they needed a more full-scale operating/variety system. We weren't ever set up to produce full-scale meals," Thomas said. "We did anything we could to fit in - putting new items on the menu; we did what we thought would be good for everyone, like free refills."

Caroline Harrison, co-owner of Halo Burger, said "The reason we were told [was] that the food service program would be a part of the dorms and they had to have certain rules and regulations for meal plans."

Thomas admitted that this chain was not "a top store" for gain, but said he was disappointed to have to leave.

"We enjoyed being there, it gave us extra exposure," Thomas said.

Attempts to relocate to the UPAV were made, however, many established restaurants objected to the potential move.

"They didn't want us in the pavilion because the other restaurants in there were not doing great business and we would take away from them," Harrison said.

Thomas said he was disappointed but accepting of the outcome.

"It's disappointing. We never wanted to leave [but] we felt like it was time to move on.

"We enjoyed our time here very much [and] we wish the best for the new people. We had a good run; no hard feelings," he said.

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