Bernie's Burger Bus temporarily consolidates to Bellaire location, lays off 100 workers

Bernie's Burger Bus
Bernie's Burger Bus has consolidated its to-go operation at its Bellaire location. (Courtesy Kimberly Park)

Bernie's Burger Bus has consolidated its to-go operation at its Bellaire location. (Courtesy Kimberly Park)

Bernie's Burger Bus, a homegrown burger chain that expanded from a school-bus-turned-food-truck to four brick-and-mortar locations, has been forced to shutter three locations and let go of 100 employees due to slow business because of concerns stemming from the spread of coronavirus.

"With four locations, we are so cashflow-reliant," owner Justin Turner said. "But we are seeing numbers around 6% of a normal day. We had to make some quick decisions, the hardest in my life, to be honest with you."

Turner will keep offering to-go orders at his Bellaire location, 5407 Bellaire Blvd., and closed locations in the Heights, Katy and Missouri City.

Six employees who have been around since the food truck was operating have stayed on, he said, but even those have agreed to steep pay cuts.

"And even with that, I don’t know if that’s going to be possible much longer," he said.

One saving grace has been the fact that his landlords in Bellaire have not insisted on rent payments, he said.

Unfortunately, the one food truck they still have is out of commission after a mechanical issue that will cost $5,000 to repair.

Turner said he fears the widespread shutdown will push out even more local restaurant owners over the coming days. Even if he were able to resume operations, he said he would have to take on debt to resupply his operation and would likely struggle to rehire his former workers.

"It's going to take some savvy investors to see this as an opportunity and try to figure something out," he said.
By Matt Dulin

Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


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