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Ex-McDonald’s Execs Get Back in the Burger Business

Filed under Angus, Business, Menu, QSR Burgers, Upscale Burgers
The Ampersand

The Ampersand

At McDonald’s Corp. it’s often said of long-time executives that they have ketchup in their veins. So it’s not surprising that Ed Rensi is returning to flipping burgers 13 years after stepping down as president-CEO of McDonald’s USA.

Rensi and Tom Dentice, who was an executive vice president at McDonald’s when he, too, chose to step away from Big Mac in 1997, will again have their names on the door when they open Tom & Eddie’s, an upscale burger joint (planned as a multi-location concept eventually). Expected to open in August, the restaurant is located at the Yorktown retail center in Lombard, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago just a few miles from McDonald’s Oak Brook corporate offices.

Rensi’s burger résumé is a long one that begins with him working the grill at a Columbus, Ohio, McDonald’s in 1963. He worked his way to the top, and his five-year-plus tenure as head of McDonald’s domestic operations included the 1996 introduction of the Arch Deluxe. A “fancy” burger that was labeled then as a failure looks more like an ahead-of-its-time idea now. “The burger with the grown-up taste” was served on a bakery-style bun and counted hickory-smoked bacon among its toppings. It bombed—consumers weren’t ready to pay its higher menu price—but it paved the way for the premium burgers such as the Angus Third Pounders that have helped McDonald’s weather the past few years’ slowdown.

tne_logoIt’s only fitting, then, that the menu Rensi and Dentice have been honing for the past several months (including tests at College of DuPage) features a variety of Angus  burgers, judging by information and photos posted on Tom & Eddie’s Facebook page.

 Customers will be able to build their own customized burger or choose from one of several signature burgers. These include:
The Sweet & Sassy: An Angus choice chuck patty with house-made spicy mayonnaise, melted Wisconsin pepper-Jack cheese and Peppadew peppers;
The Tried & True: Angus choice chuck with sharp Cheddar cheese, yellow mustard,  organic ketchup, sliced red onion, pickles, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato;
The Blue Chip: Angus choice chuck with avocado slices, house-made roasted-garlic aioli, tomato and crumbled blue cheese topped with house-made potato chips;
The Ampersand: Angus choice chuck, applewood-smoked bacon, Wisconsin smoked Gouda, barbecue sauce and house-made haystack onions topped with a fried egg.

Also on the menu are a house-made edamame burger and turkey burger. House-specialty sweet potato fries are seasoned with sea salt. A Fruit & Nut Salad and Chicken Caesar Salad also are menued.

6 Responses to Ex-McDonald’s Execs Get Back in the Burger Business

  1. Kelly Sanders

    I have worked with Ed and Tom in the past and if any two folks can make this work, they can! I can’t wait to try it.


    Two great people who should know all there is to know about burgers are bound for success.
    I love the looks and contents of these giant burger concepts mentioned. They are Burgers for Grown-up tastes.
    I just cannot wait to go get some, come August.
    Best of luck.

  3. Richard Steinig

    Two of the most arrogant McDonalds VP’s from the 80’s and 90’s who cared little about franchisees and only were interested in their stock options and stock value. Hope their new venture goes the same way they did “OVER and OUT”.

  4. Looks like a Smashburger copy.

  5. Eric Rittenhouse

    Met Ed face to face when he was raising franchising fees. Was very arrogant when he presented it to the group of operators. The 90’s was hard for operators and Ed did little to support them. Just preparing for his golden parachute when he left. Hope to see some $1 burgers on his menu, NOT. Hope to see him throw out all his kitchen equipment and replace with a new system costing around $100,000 every 8-10 years, NOT. Hope he gets his customers served in 90 seconds in a perfectly clean restaurant with a menu that is a value to moms and kids, NOT. Now he has his restaurant lets see if he practices what he preached all those years.

  6. I met Ed at the Nascar Races and was introduced to him by a friend of mine. I think some people confuse arrogant with confidence, here is a man that just keeps on going. I wish him the best at creating his own luck, because there is no such thing as lucky.