Ray's Kingburger

I have been digging through my journey in “corporate branding” archives; and,  today, I came across my very first effort to pitch a product.

Following this ad that I created with a friend while a student at BYU, Dad Ray Goad came up with the idea to serve Breakfast in his fast food restaurants…the featured item on the menu was the same sausage biscuit you might order today.

He was without dispute the originator of the fast food breakfast.

Together, with the help of my sister and her husband Judge Moses Massey, we opened more than 50 locations in NC, SC, GA, TN, and VA. Hat’s off to Dad Ray Goad who will celebrate his 90th birthday in Mt. Airy, NC on July 18th. He is a true fast food pioneer and legend, right up there with Richard and Maurice McDonald, Harland “Colonel” Sanders, and Dave Thomas.

Dave named his restaurants after his daughter Wendy; and, Dad named another successful chain after my sister as “Sweet Sue’s.”

45 comments to Ray’s Kingburger

  • Marcelia (Celia) Goad Dollyhigh

    I so remember if we did good all week in the tobacco fields, Dad (George Goad Jr.) would go to the kingerburger and get a big bag of the 15 cent burgers. We were in Heaven ! Boy was that the good old days or what?

  • Ken Heath

    My dad (“Big John” Heath) worked his way from manager of the Marion, VA store to DM, and finally to Director of Operations in 1980. I have so many fond memories of Mr. and Mrs. Goad, the Masseys, Hyatts, etc. My first real job was at the #1 store on 52, where I worked my way to Assistant Manager under Ken Holdaway. Rays was the best influence on my career, and so many life lessons I learned as part of the team have left indelible marks. From the days of living in motels as my dad was troubleshooter for the NC coast district to “The faster you go”, Rays remains dear to my heart – as do the Goads. Your mom and dad were so very good to us, and I could never repay that kindness, no matter how hard I might try. Very special people indeed! May God continue to bless you all!

  • Andrew Vaughn

    My wife and I live in Kingsport TN, about 3 miles from the building that housed both of our’s favorite hamburger restaurant from our childhood, which was a Ray’s Kingburger. I periodically do a search to see if I can find information about them, and today found your post. The big question I have is WHAT was it that made the Kingburger our favorite? How were they put together? Sesame seed bun or no? Sliced/chopped onion? It is a hamburger I would love to replicate at home, but 30 years after the fact neither of us remember what set it apart from all the rest. Would love any info you could share on this topic. Thanks, Andrew Vaughn.

  • admin

    Hi Cousin, I hope we can meet for a burger next time I am in Mt. Airy.

  • admin

    Hi Ken,

    Big John Heath played an instrumental role in the development of the Brand we remember today as Ray’s Kingburger. I had the opportunity to know and work with John, and he always commanded my respect and trust. Without him and people like you and Kenny Holdaway, there would never have been a RAY’S. On behalf of my Dad, who still resides in Mt. Airy having just celebrated his 91st birthday, and Geneva Goad, thank you and Big John: and, all of your family. It was a day and a time to remember, when if you were willing to work hard, and if you’re willing to take responsibility, you could make it if you tried. John Heath made it, and in doing so, he was actually an important part of the fast food history in our country. He was one of the very first to ever serve breakfast, and a breakfast biscuit, at any fast food restaurant anywhere anytime. Thank you to the Heath family.

    PS: I hope you will find interesting a video that was made last year for my Dad’s 90th Birthday, which in the closing credits belatedly acknowledges your Dad’s contribution to the history of RAY’S KINGBURGERS.

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW: https://youtu.be/fc-33oluqQE

  • admin

    Recently someone has opened a restaurant at the location of the original Ray’s Kingburger; and, has no only brazenly named it “Ray’s Kingburger,” but is using the original “Ray’s” logo, and by the Facebook comments misleading many consumers to believe that the establishment is associated with the “memory” of Ray’s.

    I would like for all to know that name and logo of “Ray’s” used on this site, and for this restaurant, was not authorized, and does not represent the lasting reputation of Ray Goad, the founder of “Ray’s Kingburgers.”

    Our family strongly objects to what can only be regarded as deception, misrepresentation, slander and and unfair trade practice. If you are really interested in celebrating the Ray Goad Story go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc-33oluqQE

    Ray Goad, Jr.

  • admin

    PS: I think you will find this new YouTube posting interesting, please share with the George Goad, Jr. family.

  • Ernesto

    We were in Mt. Airy for lunch on Saturday and planned to go to Goober’s 52 which we had enjoyed many times over the past 10(?) years. We found Goober’s 52 had closed and Ray’s had opened. He had a really nice lunch at Ray’s and I assumed because of the logo on the info about Ray’s Kingburgers on the menu that the new Ray’s was in some way connected to or authorized by the original. I am sad to see there is no connection and am concerned about how the new Ray’s is presenting itself.

    I have lived in NC since 1978 and am trying to figure out if I had seen any of the Ray’s Kingburger restaurants. I found the video that you linked to in your July 27 message when I got home (Durham) on Saturday. What a great story and tribute to your dad! The video includes a map showing restaurant locations. There was a dot in Durham. Can you tell me where the Durham restaurant was located?

  • admin

    Thank you so much for your interest. The map has dots and triangles. The dots represented targeted cities for future development. Actually, that printed piece was distributed about midway (no pun) in the expansion of the Ray’s Kingburger chain. While not all targeted cities were actually developed, more than twice as many were as depicted on that image. So much was lost over time, the video was made with what we have left….including, Thanks for the Memories!

  • admin

    Hi Andrew, and thank you so very much for your kind words about your memories of Ray’s Kingburgers. Your question is one that is often asked. The answer is both simple, and complex beyond the current standards of many fast food restaurants.

    The simple answer is that the only ingredient of the Kingburger was: a 100% beef patty, charbroiled with a dash of salt, a lightly toasted sesame seed bun, smear of quality mayonnaise, fresh lettuce, ripe tomato slices, onion and sweet pickles.

    The complex answer is that it was so memorable because Ray Goad grew up in a family of great home cooks. His first job was as a butcher in a Kroger’s meat market, and he knew what really fresh good food tastes like; and, everyday that he was in business, he cared about what it tasted like when his customers ate it.

    He selected the best beef supplier, became close friends with the manufactures, had it shipped by the rail car load directly from the packing plant to a rail siding at his distribution center; and, did the same with the Idaho Potatoes that always came from the same distributor, even if they were more expensive. He went to several of his restaurants most everyday; and, minutes after arriving, he was in the kitchen cooking and tasting–and sometimes he would say “that is not right,” and all of it would go back.

    From almost the beginning he invested a significant percentage of his management budget in Eldon Cluff, a full time Director of Training. Eldon was without doubt the pioneer in producing studio quality video cassettes with the equipment in every restaurant teaching all Ray’s team members Ray Goad’s quality standards. Because Ray Goad thought food in a fast food hamburger restaurant ought to taste like it did if you cooked it at home, he was constantly trying to get everyone who worked for him to care just as much. Because he did–they did.

    Finally, it is complex because it is something special and wonderful that we remember. It was then not our everyday diet. When we got to go to a Ray’s, it tasted new and special, that taste is something we will naturally never forget.

    Thanks for asking. Now, light up the grill, follow Ray’s recipe by showing those you are cooking for how much you care, and create your own Ray’s Kingburger home cooking legend!

  • admin

    I have recently receive other comments regarding the unauthorized use of the Ray’s Kingburger Name and Logo.

    From: Pamela XXXXXX
    Subject: Someone opened up a place with your families “Ray’s Kingburger” name
    Date: July 5, 2013 4:41:30 PM EDT
    To: [email protected]

    From: Pamela xxxxxxx
    Subject: Someone opened up a place with your families “Ray’s Kingburger” name

    Message Body:
    Hello..I’m getting in touch with you because as a family who grew up in and around Mt Airy, when we heard “Ray’s Kingburger” was reopening we were really excited..unfortunately, after going there yesterday we learned it is definitely Not your families business. The people who own “Goober’s” on 52 in Mt Airy, ‘revamped’ their restaurant and just changed the name to “Ray’s Kingburger” using some sandwiches that mimic the originals…but very very badly. I’m not sure that you’ll be concerned, but I know if my family had started a much loved restaurant many years ago and someone is now ‘stealing’ the name and the reputation for their own benefit, I’d be upset. What’s more, the food is poor quality and overpriced and is taking what we all loved as “Ray’s Kingburger” and throwing it out the window. There are more than a few people in town upset over this.
    Thanks for your time, just thought you’d like to know…btw, they have a facebook page under “Ray’s Kingburger” if you are interested.
    Sincerely, Pamela XXXXXXXXXXXX

    Begin forwarded message:

    Subject: Re: Someone opened up a place with your families “Ray’s Kingburger” name
    Date: July 14, 2013 12:50:06 AM EDT
    To: Ray Goad

    Hi again..someone posted something today on facebook that made me go to the ‘rays’ facebook page and what I found is that ALOT of people think this is your dad’s restaurant back again..and they aren’t correcting them. there was one posting that actually mentioned your dad by name and how glad they were to hear that he’s back. I think its disgusting..i realize that this is all none of my business, but as I stated before, I don’t think its right to just take something and claim it as your own, all to fool everyone for profit. I don’t own a restaurant, or any other business for that matter, I’ve never worked for the owner (i’m a stay at home mom and have been for 17 years).. so I don’t want you to think I got in touch with you for my own selfish reasons..I just think it’s sad that this is happening, and I hate that so many people in my town, and beyond are falling for it. Good luck to you.

    This mail is sent via contact form on WebGoad.com https://webgoad.com

  • Harry Hill

    Butch – we once lived in Pinnacle in Ernest Boles parents home. My older sister and I graduated from PHS under the care & custody of Mr. Bishop. A truly great man. Yes my family an me enjoyed many dining opportunities @ Ray’s KB ton include the restaurant your Dad & Mom operated on Old #52 cross from from Winsett’s Market. Great memories too. Soare you and Sue going to crank back up? Do I understand you dad is still living? One of my cousins from Galax told me this AM he met you Dad some years back & was impressed as well. Said he normally ate lunch @ the Wytheville location during his college days. Stay in touch. Go Pinnacle Panthers.
    H Hill

  • admin

    Hello Harry Hill,

    What wonderful memories my family and I surely have of our life in Pinnacle in the late 1950’s. My Dad gets a great deal of pleasure in having my Sister Susan read these messages to him. He is very touched by your regards; and, encourages us to reply with his an expression of his appreciation. Still have my Panther’s Yearbook! Cheers, RJG, aka “Butch.”

  • Harry Hill

    Atta Boy Butch – yes fond memories for me too.
    H Hill

  • Gary W. Burroughs

    Looking back over these stories, photos, video, and comments makes me HUNGRY FOR RAY’S KINGBURGER.. I am a LIFE-LONG resident of Greensboro, NC and FONDLY REMEMBER the High Point / Hilltop Rd. location of Ray’s. It was located right beside of the skating rink and I rode my bike from the Pinecroft Rd. neighborhood area to the store long before Joseph Koury ever started construction on Four Seasons Mall(Towne Center) back in 1974-1976. I remember back then the Kingburgers were around $.59 or $.79 each and Mom would send me up there at least 3 nights a week to bring Supper home for the family. I always thought that RAY’S would be around FOREVER and was REALLY SAD when they closed up.

    Glad to have found this infomation and Website, it all brings back GREAT MEMORIES !!

    Gary W. Burroughs
    Greensboro, NC

  • admin

    Gary Burroughs,

    Thank you so much for your heart warming reflections about what Ray’s meant to you. My Dad is getting quite a kick out of hearing these read to him.

    Best Wishes,
    R. J. Goad

  • rdelius

    I remember the Sanford location and Hwy 52 MtAiry.I have been trying to put togather a database of the Ray’s locations
    but have about 36 locations on my list.Any information still around or did the passage of time and the HQ fire wipe it
    out.I have put buildings I have seen on Flickr

  • admin

    Hey rdellus, Thank you so very much for your interest and posting. As you apparently know, we lost much of our own history in the HQ fire, and so there are varying number of locations quoted. Generally, the Company would quote the number of operating units at any given time. Yet, over the years, sometimes one unit would be closed while two would be opened. I just today ran across this image of the Ray’s in Radford, Va.–which based on the signage design was one of the later stores to be opened. I will read your post to Dad; and, hope you will keep in touch and share your research. If you can see this image you can copy this link and hopefully add it to your Flickr file: https://webgoad.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/RaysRadford.jpg

  • admin

    On behalf of Susan and myself, we would like for everyone our genuine appreciation for the heart warming response to this posting. We would also like for you to know how much Ray Goad has enjoyed having your message read to him. Last year we created a video celebrating Dad’s birthday; and, more recently I have been able to get it uploaded to YouTube. We are please to share with you The Ray Goad Story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fc-33oluqQE

  • rdelius

    Thanks for the photo That sign is amazing all I remember are the square signs although I have seen a copy of Drive-in
    management? with a neon arrow Ray’s sign.If I remember the Radford building was torn down not long ago but there is a
    similar Kenneys building

  • Tom Phillips

    My brothers and I loved Rays in Roanoke, Va. It was only about 5 min. from our house. We never went to McD’s or BK, only Rays. The only issue we had was my dad was NOT a Richard Petty fan-he liked David Pearson, so it was tough for him to get the King Petty memorabilia, like cups.

  • Dan Bingham

    I remember the Ray’s in North Wilkesboro. I was by far the best burger I have ever had and that includes all four of the big chains’ menus.

  • eric cowan

    This brings back great memories. Rays was a big part of my life growing up. I grew up in Blacksburg Va. We had a Rays King burger. It was our towns first fast food restaurant. It was always a treat to eat at Rays as a kid. I remember loving the King burger, and the fish sandwich. To this day, that was the best fish sandwich I have ever had. I remember the Rays in Christiansburg Va. being one of the first fast food restaurants to offer a late night menu in the early 80’s. Christiansburg was a small town. Most of the restaurants closed up fairly early. I would get off of work early in the a.m. I could stop at Rays and still get dinner food. My sister actually worked at the Radford Va. location. Watching that ham cooking in that Rays breakfast commercial has made me crave some delicious food that I cannot get here on the west coast. I would drive all the way back to Virginia for a few of those biscuits right about now. I miss the south, and I miss Rays!

  • Ken Heath

    God bless Ray and Geneva Goad and their wonderful family! They were so good to us, as my dad worked through the ranks from manager at our Marion store to DM and finally as Director of Operations. Mr. Goad was my first boss, as I worked my way from line cook to Assistant Manager, under Kennie Holdaway. What a wonderful time in our lives! Swimming at the pool, the Christmas parties and baseball games, traveling to Carolina’s east coast with my dad. The Goads are such an inspiration to me. As Community and Economic Development Director for Marion, I credit much of my career success from those days at The Kingburger. I share many lessons learned from those days with my classes I teach. It seems a heartbeat ago that blue and white Lincoln continental was pulling onto the lot at the #1 store, and “Let ’em eat!” was ringing from the rafters! You guys are forever in my heart.

  • Alan King

    I rember well eating at different Ray’s in N.C. I went a lot to the Jacksonville location . Their was never a better Burgerany where in Onslow county. I do miss the resturants.

  • David Johnson

    I was a salesman for Holly Poultry and Mr. Goad was one of my customers. I really enjoyed working with him. I have nothing but the upmost respect for him. A true man if his word. A real business man that kept me on my toes and I knew exactly where I stood with him. I sure do wish all of my customers would have been like him. His children have a lot to be proud of.
    Not only was Mr. Goad a customer he was also a great friend I miss seeing him every week. He would always fix me one of his famous ham biscuits boy were they good.
    David Johnson

  • Joseph Payne

    I was born and raised in Mount Airy, NC. As a boy I remember fondly of going to Ray’s with my family. The burgers were big and tasty. We would sometimes go to Sweet Sues for ice cream or chopped bbq. I wished they were still around today, as they would give these other fast food chains a run for their money.

  • Doug Beamer

    As a young boy my family filmed a TV commercial at your Winston-Salem restaurant. I wonder if that commercial is still around. My mother went to college with the woman who worked for the advertising agency that I think was out of Charlotte. We stayed at the restaurant and ate all day! What a treat! I’m not sure the year but would guess between 1968-1970. If there is any information I would love to see it again.

  • admin

    Hi Doug,
    I am so sorry your message slipped by me and has not been replied to until now. We have limited copies of the commercials. If you know the name of the agency in Charlotte I would like to contact them. However, we do have clips of several TV commercials at the end of a video which can be seen at Dad’s Memorial web site: https://TheRayGoadStory.com
    Regards, Ray Goad, Jr.

  • MikeB

    I remember eating at Ray’s in Greensboro as a kid. We didn’t get to eat out a lot when we were young but my brother and I always wanted to got to Ray’s. I’m glad to see Ray’s has not been forgot about. Bring back RAY’S.

  • Wanette Cleary

    I use to work at Rays King Burger in North wilkesboro and I love it there and the food was so good..I wish Days could come back like it use to be and people would go to it because there is alot missing it…

  • Loved Ray’s Kingburger. Best hamburgers, large or small. Wish we had one now.

  • Neil Carlile

    Rays King Burger in Radford, VA was my first job. I was still in High School. I really enjoyed working there. I went into the Army and never saw one again but it is a fond memory and I remember the burgers were outstanding.

  • D. Shaffer

    I grew up in Blacksburg,VA where we had two Rays in the late 60s and early 70s! My grandpa hauled water to fill people’s cisterns. After a haul, we would stop at Rays for a burger, fries, and milkshake. I don’t think a burger has been made that can top a Rays Kingburger! I miss those days!

  • Hello RJ…

    My first job as a teenager in 1963 when your dad opened his first Kingburger location on Highway 52 in Mt. Airy. I became very knowlegable in all the operations of the business and as his chain grew, worked at many locations until I was drafted and went to Vietnam in 1968. When I was lucky enough to return, Mr. Cluff ( Personel Director ) located me to open the new location in Myrtle Beach along with Paul Inman. This was in 1970, which brings me to the reason for this contact. I have searched a long time and have only found one picture of that location at the beach and I’m wondering if you happen to have any more? Please contact me if you do or locate any as those times mean very much to me. Thank you very much

  • Hello Jim Ackers,

    Thank you for your message which I enjoyed reading very much. I have recently been going through all of the archived materials with attention to cataloging each Ray’s location. I am very sorry to report that I am not aware of any photographs of the Myrtle Beach location. That was a wonderful period for everyone associated with Ray’s and my family remains grateful for the efforts of everyone that played a part in making it possible. Your service in Vietnam is especially appreciated and I am so glad that you not only survived but have apparently enjoyed a long and rich life. At this time we are seeking to document any memories and confirmation of particular dates evidencing Ray’s being the first fast food restaurant to serve breakfast, and Ray’s Country Ham biscuits. Should you recall anything regarding that I would appreciate very much your contacting me at [email protected], ‭(336) 462-8791‬. Best wishes, Ray Goad, Jr.

  • Darlene Jackson

    I ate at a Ray’s Kingburger in Clinton NC. It was the best burgers ever, around 77, 78, 79, I believe. Miss those days. I believe they put thousand island dressing on them, not sure, but so darn goo.

  • Darlene, your memory is right for the years, and for Dad’s “secret sauce” which he mixed up himself. I think you would enjoy reading this post on our Rays Country Ham Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rayscountryham/posts/463229784263700?__tn__=K-R
    Cheers, Ray Jr.

  • Independentyzi

    One of the most skilled calligraphers

  • Ascentuif

    the best poets of his era and

  • Tim Johnson

    Can someone please tell me where the Ray’s Burger Restaurant was located in Boone, NC

  • It was located on Highway 321 according to a list posted on the Facebook fan page for Rays Kingburgers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/424751114216606

  • Steve Wirt

    I was an Employee, a Cook, at Ray’s Kingburger in Christiansburg, Va. back in the 70’s. They were Fantastic! I have Very Fond Memories of that time! I remember hearing a warehouse burned down? Anyway, I hate that Ray’s is no Longer around! Very Tasty Burger, and Biscuits! BTW: I Excelled in Making Handmade Biscuits! I had a Knack for it!

  • Hi Steve,
    Thank you very much for sharing your memories of being part of the Rays Story. Your memory of the calamitous Mt. Airy warehouse fire on December 23, 1979, is especially significant in that the fire was in large part responsible for a dramatic adverse turn in the Company’s prior 20 year run of enormously successful operations.

    Rays Wharehouse allowed the Company to provide each store with 100% of its food products and operating supplies, not only assuring the highest quality control but also cost-control efficiencies. But most importantly, the Company was far ahead of its time in the automation of its operations with the IBM System/370 computer. On that disastrous night, Wilbur Hiatt, the Company’s Treasurer braved the fire and gathered as many of the rolls of magnetic tape, but the Company was never able to replace and restore its computer operations and its technological competitive advantages were lost.

    However, it turns out that your memories of your biscuit-making skills are even more significant. Little did you know then that you were in fact a key player in the history of America’s Fast Food industry. At that time there was not a single Mcdonald’s, Burger King, or Hardee’s that was open for breakfast. You helped Ray Goad pioneer the concept by opening for breakfast Rays Kingburger restaurants across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Your restaurant in Christiansburg was among the first to open for breakfast. The recipe for the homemade scratch southern biscuits you made was just as Rays Mother started making at one of his first restaurants, Ray’s Starlight Restaurant, in Mount Airy, N.C., the home of Andy Griffith and Mayberry USA. You may remember that each Rays store had a TV monitor in the kitchen with video instructions for making those biscuits.

    You can’t eat at a Ray’s Kingburger restaurant today, but you can find a Sausage Biscuit at any fast food restaurant a few blocks from your home all across the USA. You and Ray Goad were true Fast Food pioneers. Steve, please contribute to this proud history by replying with the earliest date that you can document making biscuits for breakfast sandwiches at Rays.

    Ray Goad Jr.

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