Mixed Messages

Today we’re going to have a little Fast Food Friday Fun.

 

FATBURGER

(Photo credit: roboppy)

 

I hardly ever eat it any more (strange how my waistline seems not to miss it) but there is one outlet that I hit up every time I’m near one – Fatburger.  For those of you who live East of the Mississippi, this chain is located mostly in California, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona but there are outlets in a few other places.  Unfortunately for me, New York City just became one (but it’s in an area in which I rarely go so I hope to stay away…mostly…).

 

Why I love their burgers is pretty simple and is right there on their website:

 

Fresh, lean beef.  Never frozen patties, Cooked-to-order.

 

And they’re topped with a selection of the usual stuff – cheese, bacon, chili, a fried egg – as well as other things – grilled onions, jalapeños  yellow peppers – that one doesn’t generally find readily available but which make it possible to get the burger tuned perfectly.  Have it your way indeed!  It’s a fantastic brand promise – one to which the food adheres.

 

So you ‘re wondering why the love note on a business-blog (even if it is Foodie Friday)?  Because of the Fatburger truck tour and that:

 

The national food truck tour coincides with the introduction of Fatburger frozen beef patties in more than 3,100 Walmart stores, which will be arriving in stores by the end of June.

 

I understand why they’re looking to sell patties through the biggest retailer in the country.  What I don’t understand is instructive for any brand.  I love this place because it’s not “fast food.”  The beef is not some iced over hockey puck slapped on a grill.  What they’re selling at Walmart is a Fatburger in name only.  As an aside, I wonder if it really is the same product that goes to the restaurants or if it’s just a licensing deal with a supplier that has no connection   Be that as it may, while  they’re expanding sales they’re cheapening the brand, at least in my mind.  It’s an inferior experience.

 

Fatburger isn’t alone in making this mistake.  Starbucks instant coffee, for example, is the antithesis of the heady, fresh brew that one gets from a barista.  Luxury brands doing GroupOns has the same effect.  While driving revenues is always a goal for any brand and every business, that can’t come at the expense of the brand image or experience.

 

Let me hear your thoughts.  Maybe it will distract me from wanting a Fatburger in the worst way right now…

 

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1 Comment

Filed under food, Thinking Aloud

One response to “Mixed Messages

  1. Milton Sullivan

    I understand why they’re looking to sell patties through the biggest retailer in the country. What I don’t understand is instructive for any brand. I love this place because it’s not “fast food.” The beef is not some iced over hockey puck slapped on a grill. What they’re selling at Walmart is a Fatburger in name only. As an aside, I wonder if it really is the same product that goes to the restaurants or if it’s just a licensing deal with a supplier that has no connection Be that as it may, while they’re expanding sales they’re cheapening the brand, at least in my mind. It’s an inferior experience.

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