It took about a decade to convince Billy Sims to sell burgers.
Sims, best known for his Heisman Trophy-winning career at the University of Oklahoma, entered the restaurant business in 2004, when he and his business partner Jeff Jackson opened the first Billy Sims barbecue in the Farm Mall. from Tulsa.
“I’ll admit it – I never thought it would work in the first place,” Sims said with a laugh.
But he has work to do. Billy Sims Barbecue currently has 42 outlets across Central America, including restaurants in Kansas, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, as well as Oklahoma.
“Then, about 10 years ago, Jeff started telling me about selling burgers,” Sims said. “I was like, ‘Dude, everybody sells burgers. Let’s focus on what we know, the barbecue. ‘”
Jackson, however, responded with this observation: “People eat barbecue maybe about once a month. But people eat burgers two, three times a week. I knew we had to branch out, and this seemed like the cheapest market to tap into. “
Last year, the first Billy Sims Burger opened in Midwest City. The second link in this potential chain debuted a few weeks ago in Tulsa, at a location that has hosted two national chains, Taco Cabana and Jimmy Hula’s.
“Billy and I are both foodies, so we have a pretty good idea of what makes a great burger,” Jackson said. “And our philosophy was to keep it simple – a small menu where we can focus on quality and making everything to order.