Monday, October 23, 2006

The Seventeen Dollar Hamburger.

A while back I blogged about making claims you can't back up. Here's an update.

There is a burger joint in my neighborhood that recently opened: Five Guys Famous Burgers. Apparently they're a small chain along the eastern seaboard. My original problem with them is that they use the word "Famous" when I've never heard of them. You can't be famous if I don't know who you are or what you do. Perhaps someday you'll BE famous, but you're not now, you're brand new. My "BS Meter" pegs.

Well, Julie & I finally went into this place over the weekend. All over their walls are articles from newspapers gushing about how great these burgers are. Hey, maybe there is something to this "famous" claim afterall.

We order: 2 cheeseburgers, 2 fountain drinks and one order of fries to share.

(Yes, this is a Five Guys burger...kind of smooshy)

What do you think 2 burgers, 2 pops & one order of fries costs? Would you believe SEVENTEEN DOLLARS?!

I'm here to tell you, the burger wasn't bad. Not the best I've had, but tasty. The fries are freshly cut every day, those were quite good. The Coke was just Coke from a fountain.

And it cost me SEVENTEEN DOLLARS to find this out.

What's happened now is that my perception of this place has changed, and no matter how great the burgers are, they're not a VALUE. I felt like I got taken to the cleaners. See, every one of us has a price for any product in our minds, it's what we feel the product is worth. If the actual price is below that mental one, we think we got value, if it's higher, we feel we got hosed.

Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction, with the Five Dollar Shake? Same thing here. To me, 2 burgers, 1 order of fries & a couple of pops simply aren't worth SEVENTEEN DOLLARS!

I won't be going back and that's too bad, because the burgers really aren't bad...but no burger is worth SEVENTEEN DOLLARS!

Here's the whole point to my rant: is your product or service a VALUE to your customers? If it is, great. If not, you may find it's awfully hard to sell Seventeen Dollar Hamburgers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, well, I thought the same thing when another fast-food chain introduced the Six-Dollar Burger. You see, your single hamburger alone wasn't seventeen dollars, the meal for two was seventeen. So, doing the math, I deducted $4 for two pops (definitely a Northerner without saying "sodas" lol) and $2 for the fries, which left $11 for two burgers, roughly each $6.50.

Now, I've bought a Six Dollar Burger from Hardee's (new a few years ago) and I can agree that I hardly thought the burger was worth $6, but was too curious and hungry to care. I really wanted a burger that was worth six dollars for that meal, and I was willing to let Hardee's give it their best shot.

They delivered. And I've bought more of those burgers at $6 a pop, despite the fact that economy was better when they began charging that much.

Let's hope the Five Famous Burger Flippers don't read this blog that claims their six-something burger is almost three times its actual price, or you might have to eat some mooing crow.

7:35 PM  
Blogger John Hammer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:21 PM  
Blogger John Hammer said...

I'm totally jazzed that you picked the Hardee's "Six Dollar Burger" for your's the burger I used as a personal comparison.

The Hardee's "Six Dollar Burger" was introduced as their answer to burgers at places like Applebee's, Chili's, etc. Hardee's point was that they sold you a "Six Dollar Burger" but ony charged you $3.50. It has become the best selling burger in their corporate history.

This goes back to my point on percieved value: at Hardee's, I have relatively low expectations, so when they hit on a winner like the "Six Dollar Burger" for just 2/3rds the price, I'm thrilled. Add fries & a soda and you have a full meal for $6. For my wife & I to eat 2 burgers, 2 fries & 2 drinks, $12 seems right on the money. That's where the "value bar" is set in my mind. The Five Fellas have to eclipse that, either in product, price or a combination of both. They came close on product, but missed the value by nearly 50%.

Sell me a better product for the same price or charge me more but impress the pants off me & we've got a deal. Unfortunately, the Fellas did neither.

You know, I think I'll go to Hardee's for lunch tomorrow...

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Troy F. said...

Famous has got to be one of the most abused words ever. The 5Guys burger is decent, but if you ever make it up to Phillyland, try Charlie's in nearby Folsom, PA.

Glad my picture of it was of use to someone ;-)

Take care!

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Mark P. said...

Have ya tried Cook-Out? Now there is a value. After tax, $4.27 and you can get a burger, two sides, and a HUGE TEA.

10:35 PM  
Blogger John Hammer said...

I've been meaning to try that Cookout place...I've spoken with several folks who enjoy it.

I'll give a big shout to the Cheese Steakery at the corner of NC150 & Williamson Rd in Mooresville, NC. They're less than a mile from the Five Fellas place and serve a nearly identical burger AND home make fresh cut fries...for $6.

11:38 AM  

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