Two Burger Joints That Get Customer Service Right

2 Burger Joints That Get Customer Service Right

I read Consumer Reports. Faithfully. I have for at least 10 years. I also pay an additional annual subscription fee for full access to the review on their website. I’ve taken copies of the magazine with me to many stores, and I’ve never had a problem with a product recommended by Consumer Reports.

Most recently, I had to buy a new laptop, which can be an onerous task. But it turned out to be a fairly painless process—thanks to Consumer Reports. Bottom line: I trust their recommendations, unequivocally.

About 6 months ago, Consumer Reports published an article that caught my eye, “Our readers reveal: Best burgers.” I try not to east fast food too often, but I’ll admit, I do enjoy a tasty burger now and then.

Here in California, we have a chain known for its simple menu, quality food, and excellent treatment of its employees: In-N-Out Burger. You can also find In-N-Out in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. So if you’re ever in Vegas, be sure to check it out.

According to the Consumer Reports survey, as I expected, In-N-Out topped the list. No, wait a minute. Another chain actually tied for the #1 slot: Five Guys Burgers, which has locations in 42 states. Interesting. I wanted to know how Five Guys compared to In-N-Out, but alas, they had no restaurants in San Diego at the time.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that a Five Guys Burgers had opened about 5 miles from my house (only 1 mile farther than In-N-Out). I remembered the Consumer Reports article and told my sister we needed to give it a try. That’s where we had lunch today. And yes, it was a very tasty burger indeed.

I noticed several differences between the two immediately:

  • Five Guys is dine-in or take-out, while In-N-Out also has a drive-through.
  • A Five Guys burger is about $5, including great toppings that you would find at a sit-down restaurant, while an In-N-Out burger is about $2.50 with limited topping choices.

But it’s the similarities of the two chains that really stood out:

  • A simple, limited menu: burgers, fries, and drinks. That’s it.
  • Atypical fast food marketing: no funny commercials and no coupons. Neither offers any discounts.
  • A focus on high-quality ingredients and a delicious product.
  • Superior customer service delivered by a cohesive team that treats every customer like gold.

I was curious to learn more about their marketing strategies. I wanted to know if they were using social media as a major part of those strategies. I expected strong social media presences from the corporate brands, but I was wrong.

Both have adopted customer-centric marketing strategies. They offer good food and top-notch service at fair prices.

In exchange, their customers have become the marketers. Delighted customers blog and tweet and like. They create fan pages. They proudly purchase and wear branded apparel. They tell the people they know (and don’t know) about their experiences, like I’m doing now.

As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to mediocre treatment. As a result, we want to tell people about it when we receive exceptional treatment.

With their #1 ratings in Consumer Reports, Five Guys and In-N-Out have proven that you can be extremely successful simply by delivering an extraordinary customer experience.