The New Retail Countertrend: Burgers!

Creating Staying Power In A Competitive Marketplace

If we look around the world of retail today, we see a strong movement towards customers demanding locally sourced, all natural and sustainable goods and products. However, often times in retailing there is a somewhat inexplicable trend of countertrends, and it is present here with the advent of…(drum roll please) hamburgers.

Now, you may be saying, “this is a total stretch”, but stick with us and then let us know if we are totally off our bun. The burger countertrend goes against what we as a nation are *standing for*. It goes against the doctor’s orders, it goes against our fight against obesity, and it goes against what the government is asking of restaurants nationwide.

As the burger trend continues to grow on a national scale, away from fast food and into fast casual and sit-down segments, we are left asking how they will create staying power. It seems like everyone everywhere wants a chance to put their spin on this American classic, but we want to know what is being done to create customer brand loyalty so these restaurants are among the survivors when the burger trend changes to hot dogs (perhaps) or something else down the line.

This idea applies to all products. How are you standing out against local and national competition? What do you do that customers would label as *the best*? Is your social media out of this world? Perhaps you have the most creative product assortment…or your store layout is really perfect for your target customer (which it should be). Whatever it is, we hope you are creating something bigger than just an awesome trend driven store, because when the trend dies down, we don’t want your business to go with it.

Hold the Pickle and Check Out These Burger Joints

Best Burger Social Media

Let’s face it, in 2013, if you don’t have a social media presence, you are missing marketing to a big target market of people who live and die by what’s happening in the online, social space. When we looked to burger places that were “best in social media”, we came across two great examples to share with you. Five Guys does an outstanding job of keeping content on brand. Their very family- oriented brand personality shines through in every post and their consistency in responding and interacting with customers is admirable. Another great example of social media excellence comes from way Down Under. Burger Theory (Australia) has people driving hours to come find them…and where can their mobile address be found? On their well branded, easy to follow and become entranced by, social media outlets.  They do a great job of telling a story in every quirky, informative post, and for that reason, buns off.

Most Creative Burger Approach

There are a lot of different directions we could go here but when it boils (or grills) down to it, we wanted the creative of the creative. Motor Mouth Food Truck (Cleveland) takes a new spin on burgers, creating a whole new look for this food group, from bun to patty. Their Reuben Burger, made of fresh ground corn beef and served on a pumpernickel bun with all the proper sandwich fixings, brings a new taste sensation to the world of burgers.

Healthiest (But Still Tasty) Burger

b.good was founded on the idea of making fast-food “real” by having real people make the food, not factories. While their burgers are not diet food, per say, every store highlights the farm to table approach they take by highlighting the local farms where ingredients come from via innovative boards and signage. Their brand personality and mantra of “Real Food. Real People. Real Stuff.” shines through at every touch point as you dive into a fresh, customizable burger.

The Social Butterfly of Burgers

Shake Shack does an amazing job of creating buzz around their new (and not so new) locations through very targeted, approachable and relatable PR. Since opening their new Chestnut Hill, MA location, we would venture to say there hasn’t been a time during their opening hours without a line. What’s all the hype about? Go check out it out and get back to us…and don’t forget to scope out the line first using Shack Cam!

And some other burger superlatives…

Wallet Buster: Bristol Lounge

Collegiate Crowd Pleaser: Eagle’s Deli

Most Hipster: Grass Fed

Most Talked About: In-N-Out Burger

Messiest Burger: Tommy’s LA

Quirkiest: Mr. Bartley’s

Coolest Retro Tribute: Sonic

Best Side Kick (fries of course): Edzo’s

Most customizable: 4Food

Now, truth be told, we’ve just started this meaty conversation. As you know, there are thousands of burger places out there and we want to hear your opinion on the best and brightest (Favorite burger? Best branding? Top-notch customer service?) In Boston alone, we could have the meat sweats if we tried to get to them all…Five Napkin, Tasty Burger, UFood, UBurger, Mr. Bartley’s, Four Burgers, JM Curley, Boston Burger Co, Red Robin, Wild Willy’s, Ten Tables, Grass Fed, Eagles Deli (…you get the picture).

Our big burger take away though (besides our love of red meat) is that you need to create staying power. Worried your customer wouldn’t label you something too flattering?  You’re in luck, because our standout quality is making you successful. No matter what the segment, making your concept relevant for your target market is critical and shouldn’t be something you think about after the fact… go ahead, create your competitive advantage. And if you need help, give us a shout!