Have it your way—if "it" means every chair and table in the joint

By Mike Pomranz
Updated March 16, 2018
Burger King
Credit: Photo by lawcain via Getty Images

Many sensible people eat a little something for breakfast. If they're hungry, maybe they will go out for a big breakfast. If they're ridiculously hungry, OK, sure, maybe they’d order everything on the menu. But coming home with the actual restaurant? It might sound crazy, but it’s not far off from what recently happened to a man in Michigan.

Earlier this week, Joe Otte of Traverse City, Michigan, did what he does most mornings: He went to his local Burger King. But during this trip, he noticed something different: “I drove in there for breakfast,” he told his local WPBN news station, “and seen some booths sitting off to the side and some scrap metal, and stopped in there and asked them if they wanted to get rid of it, and he said take what you want.”

This Burger King location was just starting a complete remodel, and outside of a few pieces of kitchen equipment, pretty much everything had to go. Otte, who recently launched his own auction house, decided he wanted all of it—from about 40 booths to a trailer full of trash cans to the lighting.

“I thought [the manager] was kind of pulling my leg,” Otte explained. “The booths were all still in place and everything. And he says, ‘No, if you want to scrap it all and take it all. We’re just going to throw it away.’”

Otte rounded up some people and hauled most of the BK back to his house in one day, enough stuff that WPBN quipped he could probably open his own Burger King.

In an attempt to start selling his newfound wares, Otte put a notice up on Facebook. That’s how the local news caught wind of his bounty and helped spread the word. “I’ve already sold some of it,” he told me over the phone. “I’ve sold the chairs and some booths and a couple tables.” The obvious follow-up question becomes, who was buying this stuff? Otte says it wasn’t professionals: “They were just people that wanted it.” We can only hope that somewhere in Michigan, someone just replaced their dining room chairs with Burger King booths.

Otte wasn’t done either. He went back for another big prize. “I just acquired yesterday the Burger King sign that hung on the building,” he told me, a touch of joy sneaking into his voice. I asked him if he planned to keep it as a souvenir.

“No, I’m going to keep some of the lights,” he responded. Yeah, best to stay practical. No need to mix business with breakfast.