Franchise Spotlight: Jay Amarosa, Burger King

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If you are going to spend over 40 years of your life doing one thing, it’s got to be something you love wholeheartedly. Such is the case for 31-year Burger King franchisee Jay Amarosa, or as he calls himself “BK Jay.”

Amarosa has been part of the Burger King franchise since April of 1975 and, he says of his experience, “It’s in my blood. I have ketchup in my veins.”

His Story

Most would call his success a rise to the top, but Amarosa calls it his “rise from fries.” And here’s how it began.

Before and during college, while he was working at competitor McDonald’s, Amarosa said a Burger King representative walked in and asked him if he wanted to come work for them.

“I said no,” Amarosa said, “But eventually he got me.” The two founders of Coastal Group, he said, “Saw something in me. I was brought along, eventually became an operating partner and now here I am.”

Amarosa, a self-identified “working stiff” thinks the original founders brought him on board because he was the farthest thing from an administrator. He said, “I’m an operator. I operate restaurants.”

And operate restaurants he does. Once owning stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, he is now the proud franchisee of 24 Burger Kings in the St. Louis and Illinois areas.

Working with Burger King

In his 41 years with the franchise, he’s learned, “If you operate good restaurants, you’ll be successful.” Amarosa enjoys working with the Burger King brand, saying he loves the camaraderie, communication, “and friendships developed over the years!”

Even more, he gets to do it with his family. His wife Tracy is the manager of their New Jersey office and their son Jason is a District Manager of the St. Louis stores.

But, Amarosa said, “The QSR industry is very difficult. It’s not as easy as it may appear – there are a lot of moving parts. And as a franchise system, there are things that have to be done to maintain and keep up ‘with the Joneses’ as they say.

“The sales trend ebbs and flows. It’s a heavyweight battle between Wendy’s, McDonalds, and Burger King. We all pick from the same pool of customers.”

He said you constantly have to find new avenues to be different from the competition. One of those, he said is, “Having a passion and drive to succeed.” But the other is finding easy access to capital when he needs it.

Why Direct Capital?

Amarosa came to Direct Capital in 2011 to finance a Soft Serve machine mandated by a Game Changer Burger King initiative. Having remembered Kerri Fletcher, Direct Capital’s Senior Brand Finance Manager, from a 2010 Burger King show, Amarosa reached out to get the equipment financing he needed.

Working with Direct Capital, Amarosa said, has been seamless. “My experience with Direct Capital has been phenomenal. You are good people and a pleasure to do business with. The partnership has been both personal and valuable.”

And it’s those relationships Amarosa has built with Direct Capital that keeps him coming back.

He said, “The opportunity to even make a phone call and gain the necessary capital for a certain time and a certain initiative is critical to my success. When you want to borrow money and you’re going to allow people into your business, you need to have a comfort level with that individual.

“I want to pick up the phone,” he said, “and ask for X amount of dollars for X amount of time. Because of the relationship we’ve built, the answer is unsoundly, ‘Yeah, sure no problem Jay. We have history with you. You’re someone we want to partner with.’ And to me, that means a lot.”

As a mid-size operator with 24 stores, Amarosa has seen success in his 40 years with franchise and it all stems from his love for the job. “You work because you love it,” he said. “You work because it’s what you do. And frankly, you work because it’s your identity.”

Well, they don’t call him BK Jay for nothing!

To discover ways that Direct Capital can help your franchise grow like Jay’s, visit our Franchise Financing page!