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Stop Being Afraid Of Putting Information Into Customer’s Hands

My first job was at a fast food place. It was a local chain that was trying to go for this retro 60’s diner like atmosphere. So I had to wear a button down, white, short sleeve shirt (actually a snap down, white, short sleeve shirt) and a tie to work at a place that served greasy burgers and fries. Since this was high school, I chose the job because almost every one of my friends worked there. Since it was high school, I also made sure to do the least amount work possible while maintaining my job.

All good things had to come to the end and we parted ways (I quit without notice because they wouldn’t let me work with my ear piercing in, my first experience with dress code policies). Things have changed a bit in 11 years. What was once a beloved but tacky regional restaurant chain has become the fast food iteration of the “Eat Local” movement.

Burgerville (based in my hometown of Vancouver, WA) has become a powerhouse of the Northwest casual cuisine scene. From hipsters and hippies to cube dwellers and suburbanites, I’ve found few that really dislike the joint and even less that have never experienced it. Not to mention that they are an interesting case in business transparency.

Burgerville started off by naming suppliers of their products and opening both themselves and their partners to scrutiny. Guess what though? It wasn’t the end of the world. People felt better about what they were eating.

Now they’ve attracted attention for another bit of transparency: nutrition labeling based on what you order. Cabel’s Blog posted a copy of his receipt and it was picked up by A Hamburger Today (one of my favorite food blogs for obvious reasons).

So you can see that he not only ordered a halibut sandwich but that he removed tarter. And those sweet potato fries? Better in the fiber category but bad everywhere else in comparison to regular french fries.

While other companies put their nutrition information on weird parts of a website or in little pamphlets with tiny printing, Burgerville puts it right where it counts: in your face, before you eat it.

And yes, people who know me know that I am against mandatory laws about these sorts of things. But using labeling and transparency as a key differentiator in your marketing strategy? I really love it. Especially when none of your competitors can roll out anything close to this in a timely manner.

Put information into your customer’s hands, respect their intelligence and let their informed wants guide you to better products. How hard can it be if a regional burger chain is leading the way?

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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