Aristotle wrote, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Wise thinking from a man who never had a burger, yet the sweet fruit of our patience with two burger events is being served today:
First, Chipotle throws open the doors of its inaugural Tasty Made burger shop today in Lancaster, Ohio. It fulfills a promise by the company made in July and it also comes days after Chipotle threw in the towel on another of its other sub-concepts, the 15-unit ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen brand. Co-CEO Steve Ells explained that decision this way: “ShopHouse is managed by a small independent team, which was tasked with creating a compelling brand, which could develop into a compelling growth strategy and enhance long-term shareholder value. We’re proud of the ShopHouse team, the delicious food they’ve created and the excellent customer service they’ve delivered. But after operating in three distinct markets, and opening in a variety of trade areas, ShopHouse simply has not demonstrated the ability to support an attractive unit economic model.”
Can Tasty Made succeed with the same task? I hope so because this, too, fails, it could dampen other’ enthusiasm for getting in to the burger business. The concept will have a simple menu of burgers, fries and shakes. Ells earlier said it will feature “Responsibly Raised brand beef” free from antibiotics or added hormones, plus “shakes made with real ingredients” and “fresh made buns that are free of preservatives, dough conditioners and other artificial ingredients.”
In September, BurgerBusiness.com reported that Chipotle had trademarked the phrases “The Tasty Way” and “Always Made the Tasty Way,” both of which seem destined for internal or external marketing use with the Tasty Made concept.
The second long-promised-now-delivered event of the week is Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s roll out of the Budweiser Beer Cheese Bacon Burger. Spotted back in June when it was testing under the name “Budweiser Brew House Bacon Cheeseburger,” the burger now gets the tagline, “Grass-fed beef topped with beer-fed cheese.” The burger can be ordered with Carl’s Jr.’s All-Natural beef patty (710 calories single) or with a 1/3-lb. (790 calories) or 1/2-lb. (990 calories) Thickburger patty.
The official in-store introduction isn’t until Oct. 31, but the burger is already in a few stores. It’s priced at $5.59 for the single alone or $8.59 as a combo; $6.89 as a double and $9.89 as a double combo. That’s in line with the recent chart of burger pricing published here recently.
So what’s the next thing we all can wait for? Buffalo Wild Wings next week unveils a new burger platform as it seeks to get same-store sales back into positive territory. For the quarter ended Sept. 25, 2016, comp sales at company stores were down 1.8% (and down 1.6% at franchised stores).
CEO Sally Smith told analysts, “In addition to removing additives and artificial ingredients, there’s a new bun, new bacon and new toppings to create a better burger choice. Our menu panel features the Buffalo Bleu Burger as well as Kickin’ Honey Garlic and Havana Heat as our limited-time Sauce Lab sauces.” Once again, a restaurant brands looks to burgers for turnaround help.
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