For years, the restaurant industry has been struggling to accommodate the habits of a new, increasingly food-conscious generation of consumers. It’s not exactly breaking news that millennials are more concerned about what they are eating than previous generations. Still, the specific consumer habits associated with that trend have proven hard to pin down. Consumers are still looking to indulge when they eat out, which is why health-food concepts—once pegged as the logical conclusion of evolving consumer demands—have remained a niche market. So how does a restaurant achieve broad appeal in an increasingly segmented marketplace? By offering control, which is exactly what The Counter Custom Built Burgers™ is offering their rapidly growing customer base.
“It’s right there in the name,” said Rachel Cohn, Director of Marketing for Kahala Brands™, the managing company of The Counter. “We specialize in a customized experience, and that’s what has set us apart from other restaurant franchises.”
The Counter allows customers to build their ideal burger, choosing from a range of proteins, cheeses, toppings, sauces and buns or greens, each checked off on a paper menu that encapsulates the brand’s hip, casual vibe, evoked also in the restaurants’ industrial décor and upbeat music.
The Counter’s emphasis on customization has made it one of the few restaurant concepts that accommodate the new and diverse wave of specialty diets, from paleo to gluten-free to ketogenic, which have made ingredients from every corner of the food pyramid off limits for some diners. The Counter has even become a favorite among vegetarians, offering not just veggie burgers, but also the meat-like Impossible™ Burger.
“For burger lovers, our all-natural beef patties are as good as it gets, but even for those who don’t eat beef, we still offer the best burger in town,” Cohn said. “Customers can get organic bison burgers, vegan veggies burgers, turkey, chicken, mahi-mahi and—the option vegetarians have been most excited about—the Impossible burger, which bleeds, sizzles and tastes just like a beef burger, but it’s made entirely from plants.”
The Impossible Burger was introduced to The Counter restaurants last fall, and it was just one of the restaurant’s frequent menu innovations.
“We were one of the first concepts to offer a custom burger experience back in 2006,” Cohn said,” but we’re never done innovating. We are always introducing exciting new proteins, sauces and toppings to help make sure we are offering the most exciting and diverse experience for customers.”
By offering a menu of proteins, buns and toppings that can be mixed and matched in more than a million combinations, The Counter® created a concept that appeals to virtually every taste and dietary restriction.
That universal appeal will likely prove a crucial benefit to The Counter as the brand begins expanding to meet an increasingly consumer demand. The franchise already has locations in states across the U.S., including California, Idaho, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Hawaii and New York, and the development team is currently seeking owners for new restaurants in new and existing markets.
Startup costs to open a The Counter Custom Built Burgers™ restaurant range from $786,000 to $2,355,250, including a $50,000 franchise fee. To learn more, thecounter.com/franchise.
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