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Burlingame Taco Bell: From Burning Fire to Fresh Revival

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After undergoing extensive damage from a fire, we’re excited to announce that our Burlingame Taco Bell (1819 28th St. SW) in Wyoming, MI is back in business and better than ever! Burlingame hosted a small friends and family event January 30 to kick off reopening — exactly one year after the incident.

What Happened?

It started with an early morning phone call no one wants to receive. In January 2022, Area Coach Connie Horan picked up her phone to find out that her Burlingame Taco Bell had caught fire.

The fire came on quick. Thankfully, there were no injuries.

By the time the fire department arrived, the back of house had filled with smoke, and the storage room and office were a total loss. The front of the house and kitchen only had smoke damage. The cause of the fire is believed to have been an electrical issue with a piece of equipment being installed.

“It’s the only restaurant ever — in the history of Border Foods — to burn down,” says President Aaron Engler.

The $2-Million Rebuild

About 20 team members and managers were displaced from the fire; there were no injuries. We were able to transition a dozen to other locations in the interim; those remaining chose not to join other locations. But the impact on our crew served as extra motivation to rebuild Burlingame even better! We moved forward with what’s known as a “scrape”remodel. 

 “The location was due for a remodel in 2023, so this allowed us to refresh it for the future, a year earlier.” -Brian Davies, VP of Facilities

A scrape is when we take a restaurant that’s due for a remodel, near the end of its franchise agreement with Taco Bell Corporate, and knock it down completely to rebuild on the same property. Scrapes are often just one component of our growth plans for the future.

Border Foods strives to use local vendor partners for projects. For this, we worked with Michigan-based Wolverine Building Group and its group of subcontractors. The $2-million scrape project started in September 2022 and lasted 16 weeks.

“The location was already due for a remodel in 2023, so this allowed us to refresh it, a year earlier.” -Brian Davies, VP of Facilities

The result? Better layout for our team members and guests, increased storage, and even a second drive-thru lane to deliver tacos on-the-go faster. All of our former Burlingame employees were given an opportunity to resume employment with us at this revamped location.

“It was slow going until the community noticed we were open and ready to service the guests,” says LouAnn Hansen, Region Coach.But the team is doing great and sales are building everyday!”