Why The Counter Keeps Innovating Past 1 Million Flavor Combinations
Why The Counter Keeps Innovating Past 1 Million Flavor Combinations

With quarterly limited time offerings like the regionally-inspired Juicy Lucy as well as endless flavor combinations and plant-based options, the burger franchise has a little (and a lot of) something for everyone.

With limited-time offerings of innovative items routinely added to its menu, The Counter’s fanatic customer base always has something to talk about—and reasons to keep coming back. Plus, with more than 85 ingredients to choose from on its Create Your Own Burger menu, The Counter offers over a million possible combinations all year round. 

“When people want a burger, they want an indulgent one, so we make it for them,” said Scott Weaver, Director of Research and Development at The Counter. A career chef, Weaver joined the team in early 2018 after directing the culinary strategy for brands like Red Robin. “We make our burgers a little bigger than the average restaurant, and with higher quality ingredients—and then we mix it up and create combinations you can’t find anywhere else.”

One such innovative specialty item is The Counter’s version of Minneapolis, Minnesota staple the Juicy Lucy Burger, available until July 1, 2019. Two beef patties stuffed with melted classic American cheese, the burger is smothered with a tangy sauce and topped with pickles and caramelized onions. 

“It’s a super savory burger that is wildly popular in Minneapolis, but not well-known elsewhere,” said Weaver. “We thought it would be fun to present it to our restaurants. And it’s been a huge success with the guests and staff.”

From unique burgers to seasonal salads to exciting new milkshakes, The Counter runs its limited-time offering (LTO) promotions four times a year for 10 to 12 weeks each. “One of our recent LTO milkshakes was a caramel and sea salt milkshake,” said Weaver. “It was very on-trend and in-demand.”

In addition to fresh spins on items that inspire cravings, The Counter is cooking up several more uncommon combinations to debut later this year as well. Weaver hinted that the franchise is gearing up to offer an LTO burger with shishito peppers and sweet sriracha sauce, and another with chili-roasted jalapenos topped with Fritos. “Those are the flavors you don't get anywhere else,” said Weaver. “When customers walk in our doors, they can always expect to get something unique and craveable.”

In addition to unparalleled seasonal items, The Counter’s menu further stands out thanks to the brand’s commitment to creating everything from scratch. “That’s something you don't really see anymore,” said Weaver, a restaurant industry veteran. “When making everything from scratch, the flavors are naturally so much better than ingredients made in a factory setting.”

The Counter is all about burgers, and the key ingredient to any great burger is the meat. The burger franchise exclusively uses all-natural Angus beef that is antibiotic-free with no added hormones. The Counter also uses all-natural chicken for its sandwiches and fresh salads, real ice cream for signature milkshakes, and the best toppings available on the market, such as the Tillamook cheddar cheese on its Old School Burger.

The Counter’s commitment to all-natural and fresh ingredients is in line with its healthy selections of vegan and vegetarian options. After all, the plant-based protein trend is nothing new to The Counter: It has offered both a veggie patty burger and an Impossible Burger for years.

“Our mantra has always been to have a lot of healthy options. While many folks visit a burger restaurant to indulge, others may be looking for plant-based options based on their lifestyle or dietary restrictions,” explained Weaver. “Impossible was a great fit for us as a plant-based patty that emulates the flavor and texture of real beef. It’s delicious, and the guests love our Impossible Burgers.”

Weaver said that while LTOs successfully bring in repeat and new customers alike, many guests of The Counter end up ordering a customized burger—after all, the brand offers a rare opportunity to truly, unequivocally, make it their own. “At The Counter, you can actually create your own culinary experience,” said Weaver. 

Building your own burger out of the freshest ingredients possible is not just delicious. It’s also just plain fun.

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