Brothers’ BBQ sauce is MBA student’s ticket to success in class
A recurring theme among students at Brandman University is how often they’re able to put to use what they’ve learned in class.
Tonia Burgess, an MBA student at the Roseville campus, has added a new twist. She used what she learned in class to help a company started by her twin brothers. She also used the brothers’ newest product for her marketing class project.
The Burgess Brothers business got its start about three years ago when Matthew and Jonathan were invited by a local TV station to take part in a burger battle. Matthew Burgess (the younger one by five minutes) is a sergeant with the California Highway Patrol. Jonathan Burgess is a battalion chief with the Sacramento City Fire Department. The sauces they used on their burgers (Matthew won the competition) got the attention of viewers which led to a few catering events. They opened their Sacramento restaurant in 2012.
Tonia is their older sister, by five years, and describes herself as their number one evangelist.
“Tonia and teammate, Norma Jean Romero, did their project on the new Burgess Brothers BBQ roll out. Matthew’s presentation in class captivated the audience, and he stayed to answer all of the questions that our terrific class had, and it was very engaging. We all had the chance to taste this marvelous new product,” said Philip “Chip” Heckman Jr., the marketing course instructor.
For the class project, Tonia Burgess and Romero assessed the current market, noting that while BBQ sauce is a growing market, it’s also very competitive, with larger corporations holding the largest share of the market.
But they also saw strength in the unique story of twin brothers who were both in public service as safety professionals and developing the product in their hometown. Other strengths included a strong focus on charity. They partner with the Firefighter Burn Institute and a portion of their sales goes to help burn victims and their families.
“When they say they’re committed to service, it’s true,” said Tonia. They also have a product that seems to impress everyone who tastes it, including the marketing class.
“I just let Matt tell the story. The class was really engaged with his strategic focus and passion,” said Tonia, a 27-year state employee who describes herself as “walking into my greater purpose.” That includes both helping her brothers with what she’s learned in class, helping make the world a better place and eventually writing a book that she hopes will inspire people.
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