Firing Up the Perfect Burger, Business Plan

Published on April 15, 2010

May the Best Plan Win: BurgerFest Pits Student Teams in Grill Battle

Burgers and business plans are on the menu for entrepreneurship students at UH Bauer as they gear up for the annual BurgerFest competition.

Students from the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at UH Bauer College who have studied how to open a business will soon find out if they can stand the heat.

BurgerFest, the Wolff Center’s annual business plan competition, returns to the University of Houston campus on April 21-22 on the north lawn of the University Center. It’s a contest of creativity, business aptitude and teamwork revolving around a quintessential American fare – the hamburger.

“There are five teams of 4-5 students, each tasked with creating a hamburger business,” explains senior Andrea De La Torre, who is in charge of marketing and promotions for the competition.

“The goal is to write the best business plan, raise the most money and be the team to sell the most burgers. How the teams decide to do that is up to them.”

Before the event, students must craft a business strategy and market their concept to investors to raise capital. Each team is appointed a CEO who oversees the plan and makes sure everything comes together in time.

While De La Torre says the teams’ strategies are top secret until the day of the competition, previous challengers have tried to gain advantage by dressing their burgers with exotic toppings, offering giveaways or peppering their menu with other non-burger offerings.

Program manager Andres Garcia (’08) who competed in BurgerFest as a student says there is much more to the competition than what comes off the grill.

“Competing in BurgerFest is just like opening a restaurant. You have to write a business plan, secure funding, bid for locations, meet with the fire marshal, obtain permits, establish a menu and set your price points. At the end of it all, you have to reconcile your books and submit financial statements,” Garcia says.

“This is as real an experience as you can get in the academic world. If you can handle this kind of pressure and come out on top, then you have marketable skill. I am looking forward to seeing students emerge as leaders from the experience.”

The two day event will also have a live DJ, dance classes, a dunking booth and inflatable games. For information on the event, visit the website.

By Lori Reichardt