What’s the difference between BurgerFi and other burger places?
Our beef is grass-fed, grain-finished, the fact that there’s no antibiotics, no steroids, no chemicals. And I think about this a lot, I’m not a young guy. I don’t mind telling you, I just turned 67, which is not a young age, although I feel young, and I can tell you that as opposed to my father that didn’t grow up with fast food, guys that are my age now grew up with fast food, we grew up with Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, so for us, BurgerFi is very relevant. It’s not just relevant to millennials and young people, it’s very relevant to folks like me that love fast food, except it’s even better. The quality of the food… the burgers are incredible.
And not only… And I don’t mind saying this, you’ve probably heard of Shake Shack. We have in the state of Florida, for example, we have 55 locations, Shake Shack only has 17. So we’re actually the better burger chain of choice in Florida, in our home state. We started in Lauderdale by the sea, but we’re headquartered in North Palm Beach.
One thing we have that I’m very proud of is the fact that we not only have a variety of great-tasting burgers… but we also have, and we were one of the first to have a plant-based product, The Beyond Burger, we also have our very own VegeFi. It’s a trademarked product. We produce it in a world-class commissary, also based in North Palm Beach. And having that great variety, the big three, beef, plant-based, and VegeFi, that’s a huge platform for us, and that’s just the beginning.
There’s a magazine called Chain Reaction, which I had never heard of until I got to BurgerFi, because it’s an industry-specific thing. But we are one of two chains (Shake Shack is the other) that has an A-rated burger.
What’s the difference between fast food and fast casual?
That’s a great question, and one that certainly people in the industry know. And I would say that because our food is handcrafted and takes a little bit of time, as we say, chef-inspired, handcrafted, and very unique in our build-out, we take a little more time to provide that quality food. So fast food, some place like a drive-through chain might get you the food in three minutes, but it’s a different type of quality then you’re going to get in the five and seven minutes that we take to make our food, so that’s one.
Secondly, I think it’s more of a niche menu. And what I mean by that, is we don’t… Yeah, we have variety, but we also don’t have 2,000 products, and we really take our time selecting the very best quality products. We’re constantly looking at our menu and getting the right number of items. I think that’s also part of it. And I think the atmosphere, and also the hospitality. When you have a great atmosphere… As I like to say, you can take a date to a BurgerFi. You can take your wife to BurgerFi, and you’re not going to disappoint, they’re going to want to come back again. You wouldn’t necessarily take a date to a McDonald’s or to another place, it’s just a different experience, you probably want to go through a drive-through. So, I think that’s a big part of it. I think the image, the hospitality, the friendly service, it’s a fun place, you have music, you can have beer, for example, craft beer and different types of beer, you can have wine. So, I mean, you can have a really nice time eating our great food and celebrating with a nice cold beer.
Your French fries look incredible. What’s the secret?
I know, they’re fantastic! I know fries because I competed in that industry against many others. They’re properly salted, the right size, the right color. We have very indulgent, great-tasting food. Our custard shakes are like ice cream, so it can be tough to have a shake along with fries and a burger. So we now have a custard size, which we will walk up and down the dining room and offer it up. We get a lot of sales that way.
The last component of why we’re different is we also serve it in a very eco-friendly and a sustainable environment. The brand has been around for 10 years, and yet the image of our restaurant is brand new. Many fast food chains have remodeled three times, and they don’t look as good as ours, and I think that’s a tribute to the team. We have a small, focused team here, who we’re now leveraging more strengths on. You’re able to do a lot of stuff without middle management saying, “No, we can’t do that. It costs too much.” It’s a very powerful thing about our brand.