Can Smashburger continue to take a bite out of a crowded space?

Smashburger hamburgerSmashing cravings

Here in New York City, there is no lack of burger joints.  Excluding the "Big 3", the short list I come up with off the top of my head:

  1. Shake Shack
  2. Wahlburgers
  3. Five Guys
  4. Five Napkin
  5. Steak & Shake (are they even still around?)

Maybe I should be more focused on my belly fat diet than burgers, but today I am gladly adding Smashburger to that list. I had never heard of them before, but their $4 triple/double TV advertisements reached my burger-ear, and set me in motion to schedule a visit during my next trip to the city. I rarely go out of my way for a burger. I've often felt that the big 3 can usually satisfy my varying tastes on any given day.  Plus, they've been at for much longer than most of new kids on the block.  However, I wasn't going to let that stand in my way today.

Putting Fast back into Fast-food

I normally panic when I walk into a place at 11:30 am and the person in front of me orders $100 worth of food.  That is what this construction worker did, while ordering for his entire job site.  When I asked the cashier if she was finally "ready for me", she answered with a cheery "yes!".

I just ended up getting a Classic Smash, which was 6.59 and a large fry at 3.99.  They give you an option of 5 ounce and 7 ounces beef. After thinking about it, it would have been cheaper to get the $4 triple double which is 2 patties.  I wanted to time the entire process and I noticed that construction dude had his order in about 5 minutes. My order landed on my table in just over 7 minutes.  Not bad at all.   This is not a light point for me, because it's one of the biggest criticisms I have of Shake Shack almost every time I have visited them. No buzzers required here.

Smashburger: Perfect ingredient combo for perfect taste

I've attempted to recreate burgers similar to these at home, and it never comes out exactly the way I want them.  One of the keys I've found in several online cooking videos indicates that a ground beef mixture that contains no less than 20% fat is required.  However, several of the combos that make Smashburger so tasty, include their egg roll (Potato roll is a reasonable substitute), their thinly rounded onions and their fresh hamburger pickles.   The meat is very well done, to the point of having a slight char on the edges.  I know that's not the best thing for my colon, but today, it really made my mouth happy.

Smashburger offers several discount options for various levels of contribution.  Take the online "receipt survey" and get a coupon for a free regular side order, with purchase of an entree.  If you install their app, you can get a free entree with the purchase of a side and beverage.  It simply eases the pain while you get hooked, and these burgers have that kind of power. (See full details of Smashclub here)  I had done a previous post about Starbucks' loyalty app and how they turned me from a non-customer into a customer, and then lost me again with changes to their rewards program. I think, for a lot of companies, their app will have the ability to make a significant difference to their bottom line. What are your favorite loyalty apps and what keeps you coming back?

If you're like me, you're probably wondering how you might invest, especially with the #BurgerIPOs heating up again. It looks like they've already sold a significant stake (40%) to international restaurant group Jollibee. How much more fat can this industry niche handle?