Elevation Burger Arrives
undergraduate years at U-M, where they both went on to advanced degrees--he to an MBA, she to law school.
By any measure they were a successful young couple. She stopped practicing law to raise daughters Emma and Hannah, and he had landed a job as procurement director at Dell. But the job took them to Austin, Texas, far from their families. So he started thinking about business opportunities.
"Everyone says, 'Don't do food, don't do restaurants,'" says Mike, but that was the only kind of business that seemed logical to him: "We all eat food." Sarah agreed, to a point, but "she said that if we were going to do a restaurant, it would have to be a franchise," which would at least give them a template to work from. When it came to picking a franchise, there wasn't any question which one it would be. Down the street from them in Austin was Elevation Burger, with a simple, quality menu of organic, antibiotic-, pesticide-, and hormone-free burgers, fries, and shakes. It was just starting to gain traction (there are currently only forty in the country). They bought the rights to open three in Michigan.
Elevation's competition isn't McDonalds and Burger King. "Our demographic is Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Chipotle," says Mike. This one is quite near all three--in Chalmers Place on the stretch of Washtenaw between Whole Foods and Arborland. (Sarah also gives away a neighborhood secret--there's access through Chalmers Drive, a picturesque meander that ends at Huron River Drive.)