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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“.

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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?

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My parents took our family to Ogunquit, Maine for vacation when I was a child. Some of my best childhood memories occurred on the rocky coast of Maine. Fortunately, my wife and children share my love of Maine. We try to visit southern Maine every 12-24 months for a long weekend. It seems that every trip we discover a special place that we can’t wait to visit again.

One of our favorite traditions on our trips to Ogunquit is starting our day at Amore Breakfast on Shore Road. It is easily the best breakfast I have ever had. The food is excellent and the service is outstanding.  At Amore, “Love is the Maine ingredient”.

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Leanne Cusimano opened Amore in 1994. Leanne’s background was in teaching and furniture sales. When she founded Amore, her goal was to create a place of her own where people could enjoy good food and feel at home. Leanne believed that “food is love”, thus “Amore”.  This year, Amore is celebrating its 20th year in business.

The menu features a number of signature egg and omelette dishes.The home fries are the best I have ever had. Each item is uniquely prepared with a slight twist that makes it special. The coffee is also excellent. The black and white interior creates a warm and friendly environment that reminds you of the 50’s.

In addition to great food, Amore has a warm and friendly atmosphere. This starts when you are greeted by Leanne and continues throughout your meal. Many of the waiters and waitresses have worked at Amore for several years. It is obvious that they love what they do. Amore Breakfast provides great service and the employees create a great and memorable customer experience. Amore creates an emotional connection with every customer who walks in the door. We eagerly await our next visit to Amore and are never disappointed.

The Amore Breakfast story has spread through word of mouth and positive reviews on Trip Advisor, a feature on Rachel Rays “Tasty Travels” and part of a New York Times article on “36 Hours/Ogunquit Maine”.

Amore has created a branded experience that customers crave. There are some great branding lessons to be learned from Amore Breakfast:

  • Great Brands start by building a culture first, the culture and employees drives the business and the brand experience
  • Make the product great and distinctive
  • Create an emotional experience that builds a long-term relationship
  • Sweat the details and create a great customer experience where people feel at home

Have you eaten at Amore Breakfast in Ogunquit Beach Maine?

Sambazon is the global market leader in Acai (AH-SIGH-EE) – a delicious and powerfully nutritious purple berry that grows on palm trees in the Amazon Rainforest. Sambazon was founded in 2000 by two brothers from California, Ryan and Jeremy Black and their childhood friend Edmund Nichols. During a visit to Brazil in 1999, their Brazilian friends persuaded them to try bowls of acai topped with granola and bananas as typically served by snack shacks along the beach. They fell in love with the berry.

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Quickly, they developed an idea to be the first to bring the Acai Berry to the United States. In 2000, with no real business experience, they launched Sambazon with the goal of marketing Acai and some other Amazon superfoods including acerola cherry which has 10 times the vitamin C of orange juice. Sambazon is available in fresh juices, smoothies and frozen products like smoothie-packs and sorbet. Sambazon products are available in Costco stores.

Sambazon stands for saving and managing the Brazilian Amazon. From the beginning, Sambazon has been based on a philosophy called the Triple Bottom Line, which not only measures success economically but also socially and environmentally. When a Triple Bottom Line Business makes a profit, everyone wins. from the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest which provides amazing fruits that are sustainably harvested, to the farmers who work the land, to Sambazon employees to consumers who use Acai to further their health. Sambazon is making a positive impact on the communities and forests of the Brazilian Amazon. Since its inception, Sambazon has forged close working relationships with the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund in its efforts to preserve the Amazonian rainforest and improve social and environmental standards in Brazil.

Sambazon has received numerous accolades from the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times and the U.S. Secretary of States Award for Corporate Excellence. Sambazon takes great pride in being able to help the people of the Amazon while bringing health and nutrition to customers around the world without causing damage to the rain forest, all while turning a profit for stakeholders.

Through Sambazon’s efforts, Acai’s health benefits are now becoming accepted thanks to analyses and clinical studies showing it contains a potent mix of natural elements. Acai fruits are high in antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids. However, they do not cause you to lose weight as has been marketed by some weight loss con artists.

I think Sambazon is an exciting brand with a progressive philosophy and business model that makes money while benefiting all stakeholders. I hope they continue to be successful.

Have you tried any of Sambazon’s Acai products?