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Burger family relishes new businesses

When it comes to jokes about their name and their profession, the Burger family has heard it all.

The Burger family members are the new owners of five McDonald’s in the Knoxville area, including the one in Farragut. The Farragut store will have a grand re-opening celebration July 7.

“We used to have a sign in by the drive-thru windows in our South Carolina stores that said if you have any problems, call the owners Joe and Jill Burger and then the number,” Joe Burger Jr., patriarch of the Burger clan, said with a smile. “People would look at it and chuckle and go ‘yeah right,’ even though that was our real name.”

Joe joked that he would talk to people about his make-believe cousin, Ham Burger.

The South Carolina family moved to Knoxville specifically to take over five McDonald’s stores they purchased from Tom Cochran, and it is truly a family business. Joe Burger Jr. and his wife, Jill, sold their two McDonald’s in South Carolina in order to purchase the five Knoxville stores. Their son, Jason Burger, is owner and operator of the Farragut store. His brother, Joe Burger III, has recently retired after 21 years in the U.S. Air Force and is an apprentice in one of the other stores and on his way to becoming certified as a McDonald’s owner and operator. His wife, Kimberly, is a part of the family business. Jason’s wife, Jennifer, has a background in human resources and handles a lot of the office functions along with her mother-in-law, Jill.

The family owns the stores in Windsor Square, Lenoir City, off Western Avenue, Cumberland Avenue on the UT campus and Farragut.

“I wanted to give my sons a chance to own their own business,” Joe Jr. said. “I sold the stores and we moved here because McDonald’s requires their owners to live where their stores are.”

Jason said he decided to become a part of the family business a couple of years ago in South Carolina. McDonald’s requires owner/operators to attend Hamburger University as well as work every position in a store. Jason decided to go into the family business several years after college.

“I graduated college and pursued other interests,” he said. “Then I got married and liked the idea of owning my owning


“Jason won’t tell you this but while he was running the store on Pauly’s Island [S.C.], he got Outstanding Store Manager of the Year,” Jennifer said.

Joe III said he is currently in the training process and is looking forward to working with his father and brother in owning and running quality stores in Knoxville.

“I like the idea of owning my own business,” he said. “I enjoy working with my brother and father.”

“We’re all about customer service,” Joe Jr. said.

He said they spent close to $300,000 to update and improve the Farragut store, improve the interior and replace some


“The building is about fifteen years old and needed some updating,” Jason said. “We’re here to be a part of the community and we want customers to enjoy their visit.”


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