Monday, August 10, 2015

Portland Burger Week

This week is Portland Burger Week! A bunch of places are offering $5 burgers, all week long.

A lot of restaurants treat this as a competition, to see who can make the fanciest, most unique burger. They go all out; the organizers estimate that these are $10-$15 burgers. The burgers are only sold during this one week, and never again. Limited time offer!

Is it just me, or is that a bad business plan? If I was a burger place, I wouldn't create a $15 specialty burger. I would sell my normal $8 burger, for $5. Sure, it's not very fancy to do absolutely nothing different during a promotion, but hey, a discount is a discount.

A lot of places sell out quickly. I think that's because of the super-fancy ingredients, which they don't normally use or keep in stock. There's no reason to overstock on an ingredient, if you're only using it for one week. I'm specifically thinking of the place that had big elk burgers, two years ago. They ran out of elk on the first day, and dropped out of the promotion. That made me sad. They still had their normal burgers available, so...why didn't they just drop the price on one of those? I still would have bought one of them for $5, even if it's not made from fancy elk!

I'm mentioning this, because every year, the organizers get really mean, whenever people complain about food shortages. This year, they used two swear words in the Burger Week description, just on this topic. Not very classy. If that's your #1 problem, I'd totally recommend the solution of not using fancy, one-time ingredients. You'll be less likely to run out, and it'd make the burgers cheaper to produce.

Of course, that's just me. I'm willing to give up fanciness for availability. I no longer live in Portland proper; it's definitely a trek for me to get to any of these burger places. So it's extra-nasty for me if/when they sell out.


Katie Nelson said...

Ah, the ol' Burger Week I've heard you talk about so many times...anyway :p I'd probably sell fancy burgers until I run out, then sell regular burgers for $5. One thing I wouldn't do is use swearing just because people don't like that I ran out of ingredients. I would try to be nice, although still, people should know by now that places run out of ingredients, don't get so worked up about it.

Stephanie said...

It seems like a lot of 'chefs' these days try to out-do each other by throwing together whatever unusual ingredients they can think of, along with a fried egg, and see what sticks.
If you as the consumer don't like or question it, then you're just an unrefined rube.
I live in Chicago which is a huge restaurant town. There are always articles about some chef who is changing the concept of what we eat by freeze drying squirrel dung, putting it in liquid nitrogen and sprinkling on live earth worms for the price of $250.00 - $300.00 if you want the fried bat egg. The wait for a reservation to eat this masterpiece is nine months.
Bon Appetit!

Flashman85 said...

How's this for a business plan: Cut prices on your regular burgers for the week, but then offer a full-price special that's made with elk or bison or what have you. That way, you entice people to come for the lower price, but then half of them end up paying full price anyhow for the limited-time fancy food. And then maybe they want to come back again and take advantage of what they came for in the first place.