How do small local businesses compete with the biggest franchises on their doorstep? In order to shed some light on the subject, Small Business Trends spoke to Andrew Doumith, marketing manager for the family business. The hamburger shack in Whitehall, Pennsylvania.
The Burger Shack opened in 2012. The restaurant was established with the aim of using local vendors and high quality ingredients to make fresh, natural and healthy burgers. The Burger Shack effectively rivals a number of fast food chains within a short drive.
Local Marketing Hacks
Doumith offers 11 amazing local marketing tips on how Burger Shack manages to beat the competition from the biggest fast food competitors.
Differentiate your products from your major competitors
“As a local restaurant, it’s important to clearly differentiate your products from those of your big competitors in at least one unique way. One of our creative ways is to stuff our hamburger patties with the freshest ingredients, ”said Doumith.
“The Burger Shack’s ‘stuffed’ burgers are unique in that the ingredients are stuffed into the beef,” said Doumith. “Our 94% lean beef is naturally raised on outdoor pastures without the use of steroid implants or unnecessary antibiotics. It is safe and healthy for the consumer because it is not the fatty white beef that consumers usually buy in grocery stores. Our beef is of the best quality because it is triple ground and without the addition of fat or additives. When we say “ALL NATURAL” we really mean it! “
“The combinations of ingredients used are intentionally creative and locally sourced,” said Doumith. “We take such pride in the freshness of our beef burger that we source and stuff our meats twice a day, every day, once for lunch and once for dinner. Let’s see a food chain try this one out! “
Use local products that support the community
“A lot of our customers are proud to say that they are ‘locavores’,” said Doumith. “By definition, ‘locavore’ refers to a person who strives to eat foods that are locally grown, raised or produced. This in itself is a good reason why customers prefer to dine with us, but it doesn’t end there.
“The two Marlyn (Yacoub) and Sanaat (Nomie), the two owners, are also locavores and integrate it into their selection of ingredients, ”he added. “We make a bold effort to ensure that over 90% of all ingredients used are sourced from high sources or produced locally. Locally sourced ingredients range from meats, vegetables, honey and more.
“We believe that sharing the maximum amount of local food with our customers each day is an intrinsic value that supports our local community,” said Doumith.
Build an active and engaging presence on social networks
“The Burger Shack strives to have an extremely engaging and active social media presence on Facebook and Instagram,” said Doumith. “We believe that as a small business it’s important to be as active and engaging as possible on all of your social media platforms. This is one thing your local Burger King or Red Robin will miss due to their wide reach.
“Because food chains have so many restaurants, they don’t focus on their social media presence for each location individually,” Doumith said. “It creates a great opportunity for us to use our traits of agility, of local and personal connection, to create an engaging and active presence on social media. Here are some of our particularly successful social media strategies:
- For example, “Guess the number of meatballs in this platter for a chance to win a free burger of your choice!” “
- Burger customer of the month (BOTM) and weekly special suggestions
- Share this for a discount, special promotions.
Strive to be a sustainable business
“We make environmental friendliness a priority in all aspects of our restaurant operations, from food preparation to sourcing our fresh ingredients,” said Doumith. “Our respect for the environment shines in our Beef Burgers, which are made from 94% lean beef, naturally raised on outdoor pastures without steroids, chemicals or antibiotics. Instead of the harmful transformations that typically go into beef making these days, our meat is as unprocessed and environmentally friendly as it gets. “
“We value the recycling of all recyclable products at Burger Shack,” added Doumith. “We do this by placing recycling bins next to the trash for our customers to make sure they never miss it. We also recycle our fryer grease every 4 to 5 days. This has been used for such purposes as heating waste oil and other uses. I think it’s easier to apply such environmental policies in smaller restaurants, such as The Burger Shack, because we’re dealing with a much smaller amount of liability and recycling factors. “
“Being a restaurant that shows our customers that we are recycling earns the respect and loyal support of many of our customers,” he said. “We can’t say how many times we’ve been congratulated on having a recycling bin available near our trash so that our customers can use it after having had their meal while dining with us. “
“Being environmentally focused is sure to earn the respect of your customers and help the community be as green as possible,” he said. “We believe that restaurants should have a particular interest in being environmentally friendly due to the number of recycling opportunities present in restaurants.”
Focus on “homemade” products and services
“Fast food restaurants may have packaged barbecues, hot and honey sauces, and other pre-made sauces,” he said. “While The Burger Shack is proud to provide our famous, unique, homemade sauces, fresh three times a week. Some of our famous house sauces include: Hot & Honey, BBQ, Honey Mustard, Jalapeño Ranch, Tzatziki Sauce, Chipotle Mayo, Garlic Parmesan, and more. All these sauces are prepared with our secret house recipes. These keep esteemed customers coming back time and time again, even asking for those sauces by the bottle! “
Build customer loyalty by having them participate in competitions
“To keep customers coming back with enthusiasm again and again, and to keep our creative and engaging culture strong, we’ve created our BOTM series,” said Doumith. “Burger of the Month (BOTM) is our popular monthly special, which features a creative new burger for a limited time (one month). “
“Our BOTM selection is either made by us or by nominations made by our clients through a Facebook voting system,” he said. “Lots of customers will comment or post their dream burger for the month, we’re narrowing it down to three, and then the Page audience votes for the one they want using Facebook’s ‘Like’ feature. The most popular option becomes the next month’s BOTM.
“This is only possible thanks to our agile and locally connected culture,” he said. “No large food chain will ever be able to do this just because of its fixed supply chain and lack of local engagement.”
Create an agile, personal and locally connected culture
“To keep our culture agile, personal and locally connected, we’ve created our weekly special series,” said Doumith. “In this strategy, we create a new creative weekly special every week to keep our frequent customers continually excited about the new options every week. These weekly specials are generally derived from customer suggestions or our own creativity.
Respond to as wide a range of customers as possible
“We understand that not everyone likes burgers and people have different dietary needs, like being vegan, which is why we have decided to use our spectacular cooking skills and restaurant culture in others. foods, ”Doumith said.
“In addition to our exceptional and highly customizable selection of fresh burgers, we offer a variety of other fresh and specialty foods, which we are also very proud of,” he said. “These foods include boneless and boneless wings, made with a variety of freshly made house sauces. A large selection of hot dogs. A large selection of specialty sandwiches like fresh pulled pork, pulled turkey, gyros, cheese steaks. Wraps like our Honey Mustard Bacon Wraps, Sizzling Chicken Wraps and more. Salads prepared with the freshest ingredients. Some of our famous salads include house fattoush salad topped with chicken kabab, chicken pesto salad, etc. Accompaniments like quessodilla, homemade pierogies, steak fries with philly cheese, cabin fries, fries in sauce, etc.
“Desserts like our famous Pennsylvania-Dutch whoopies, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and we can’t forget our occasional homemade baklava,” he added.
Some of our popular vegetarian options that the restaurant offers:
- Hamburger falafel
- Falafel wrap
- Vegetarian burger
- Made from scratch, homemade specialty hummus
Create a friendly and customer-oriented culture
“Unlike any fast food chain in the United States, what sets us apart the most is that we welcome every customer to The Burger Shack like it’s their home,” said Doumith. “We work hard to create the warmest and most comfortable environment. This is effective because it makes customers want to come back again and again to “see us”.
“We have had customers who come back time and time again since The Burger Shack was created five years ago,” he added.
Develop your industry by offering services that go beyond your customers’ expectations
“Using the strength of our nimble, personal and fresh culture, we began to provide our valued customers with dining options for their special occasions,” added Doumith. “Our catering service began by listening to our customers who frequently asked us if we could accommodate their special occasions. “
“Accepting a few requests, we started to focus more and more on catering, expanding this sector of activity to make it more efficient,” he explained. “Now, we frequently host business and special occasions such as birthdays, graduation ceremonies, weddings, etc. “
Are you a small business that has their own fabulous local marketing tips to share? If so, Small Business Trends would love to hear from you!
Images: Burger Shack
More in: Restaurant / Food service