Archives For In-N-Out Burger

I am a big fan of the “Better Burger” concept. Better Burgers are one of the fastest growing segments in the fast food restaurant market. “Better Burger” restaurants provide upscale fast food that beats the chains on food quality and customer experience at reasonable prices. There are many regional chains emerging with exciting growth prospects. I have written in this blog about the product and marketing innovations of “IN N OUT BURGER”, “Five Guys“, “Smashburger” and “Shake Shack“.

IMG_1692

I am now working in Baltimore and recently discovered BOARDWALK FRESH BURGERS & FRIES in the Hunt Valley Mall in Cockeysville, Maryland. Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries was founded by Dave and Fran DiFerdinando in White Marsh, Maryland in 1981. They were inspired by the legendary fresh-cut fries that they had eaten on the Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. The brothers had vacationed there as children. Their idea was to make the fresh-cut french fries they discovered at the Maryland shore available to people around the country. The brothers offered their french fries with a high quality fresh burger that was hand formed every morning and made to order.

I had lunch last Sunday at BOARDWALK. My meal was delicious. My burger was made to order. I enjoyed a 7 ounce Bacon Burger with cheese and fried onions. The fries are outstanding and worth the hype. The employees were enthusiastic and helped provide a pleasant customer experience. The stores are designed in an ocean boardwalk theme which adds to their appeal.    

Boardwalk has a simple menu. Customers have two options when ordering their burgers. They can choose one of the 3 signature burgers, or build a burger totally customized to their liking. The famous fries are hand-cut every day and only made to order.  They are cooked in 100% peanut oil. Boardwalk recommends dressing them the way they do in Maryland with loads of vinegar and Old Bay seasoning. I will try that option next time. Other menu items include beef hotdogs, chicken, shakes and funnel cake fries for dessert.   

Boardwalk currently has 18 stores in seven states. Plans are under development to add 200 restaurants across the United States in the next couple of years. Boardwalk has built a unique brand and concept with strong recognition in its local markets. Others have noticed. The New York Times ranked Boardwalk Fries on their baseball stadium culinary report. Boardwalk Fries are available at Oriole Park in Camden Yards Baltimore.

Have you tried Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries?

Advertisements

Five Guys was founded in 1985 by Jerry Murrell in suburban Washington DC.  Murrell had four sons who didn’t want to go to college, so Murrell thought of using the money he had saved for college to start a burger business. He named it Five Guys after his four sons and himself. In 1987, a fifth son was born and the chain is now named for his five sons.

five guys

When he developed the Five Guys concept, Jerry wanted to capture the authenticity of a burger joint in the small town in Michigan where he grew up. Five Guys created a new twist in the fast-food burger market. The burgers are not mass-produced, like they are at McDonald’s and Burger King, but are made to order and served with a large helping of hand-cut fries. Five Guys serves only hand-formed burgers grilled to perfection. The fresh-cut fries are cooked in pure peanut oil.

Five Guys has helped to build what has become known as the “Better Burger Category” of fast-casual restaurants. “Better Burgers” are hamburgers which sell in the $8 range. “Better Burgers” are now a $2.2 Billion segment of the hamburger market that grew 16% in 2011. Five Guys has nearly 50% of that segment. The entire fast-food burger category is a $40 billion industry in the United States that is dominated by McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. Growth in this segment has been more modest at about 3%. Americans are falling in love with a better burger product.

Other “Better Burger” chains existed before Five Guys. In-N-Out Burger, which started in California was founded in the late 1940’s, Fuddruckers started in 1980. The category really took off around 2005 with the rise of Five Guys. Burger Lounge, based in San Diego, is offering a grass-fed beef in its burgers and has a unique place in this growing category.

Today Five Guys has more than 1,000 stores nationwide. The Murrell family runs 200 of them and the rest are franchises. All of the franchise territories in the United States and Canada have been sold.

Five Guys has built a strong loyal following through word of mouth. Five Guys has also benefited from some great press. In 2009, President Obama stopped in for a cheeseburger, with dozens of cameramen in tow.

Five Guys is a great example of brand that has been built by focusing on delivering a great product and an excellent customer experience. They have for the most part avoided traditional advertising.

As Murrell’s mother always told him, “if you can give a good haircut, make a good drink and make a good hamburger, you’ll be all right in life”.

Who makes your favorite hamburger?

It is 21 degrees in Upstate New York today and I am thinking about our trip to Southern California last summer. I miss the warmth of Southern California and I am craving an In-N-Out Burger.

No trip to California is complete without lunch at In-N-Out Burger. In-N-Out Burger was founded on the West Coast in 1948 in Baldwin Park, California. It  was the first drive through hamburger stand in California. In-N-Out Burger has developed a cult following around the country. In-N-Out Burger was founded on a simple purpose that still drives it today.

“Give customers the freshest, high quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.”

Last summer we visited Southern California on vacation. In-N-Out Burger was high on our list of “must do” things this summer. After a morning and early afternoon touring Point Loma, we visited an In-N-Out Burger in San Diego. As usual, the parking lot was full and there was a line out the door. Our lunch was prepared quickly and as usual was delicious. The menu at In-Out-Burger is simple; burgers, fries, shakes and soft drinks. Unlike most fast food giants, no meal is prepared until the customer orders it. In-Out-Burger also has a not so secret menu where your burger is customized to your tastes.

In-N-Out is a privately owned company that has resisted expanding through franchises for fear of sacrificing quality for profits. In-N-Out places quality,customers and employees at the center of its business. This approach has helped In-N-Out become a cultural institution with a very loyal following.

Have you eaten at an In-N-Out Burger? Please share your experience.