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On layoffs, very bad attendance, and Iger's legacy being one of disgrace

flynnibus

Premium Member
I've noticed that In-and-Out Burger seems to have a more devoted fan base than I would expect for a burger and fries joint. They're not in my area of the country, so I can't just go out and try it. But I will visit California again some day. Convince me why I should stop there, especially for someone who really tries to avoid fast food whenever possible.

A function of time, place, and nostalgia.

In n Out was a Cali region favorite that established themselves for standout quality, strict adherence to being on brand, stoking a bit of nostalgia, and building a local following with gimmicks like the hidden menu. They established themselves in Cali, and by resisting expansion, it became kind of a 'cali only' thing locals attached to as 'theirs'. This was before boutique and gourmet burgers were all the rage everywhere else. This made it kind of a 'destination thing' to do when in Cali and the legend grew. They eventually grew through the southwest and into Texas... but again kept themselves more of an exclusive... and differentiated themselves from the Wendys/McDonalds/BKs that dominated the scene. They built their following that way. It was a combination of 'unique'+quality promise+service differentiators... boosted by a possessive cali culture. A great product strategy. They are also well respected in their markets for their approach towards employees and community. So they are a liked brand.. instead of an evil corp.

Now the the prime menu differentiators they used to stand out... fresh toppings, quality unfrozen meat, and diverse menus have been duplicated all over the place with other gourmet burger chains. The market is flooded with chains that try to offer a premium burger. So someone who has had Five Guys, Smashburger, Whataburger, Fosters, or any other of the 3 dozen plus burger specialty places at their doorstep for the last 10+ years goes into a In n Out Burger for the first time and goes 'meh... good but not a standout' simply because they have no attachment to the aurora around it or see it as much of a unique offer because they are surrounded by 'like products' all over now.

Still a great product and good company - but one whose product differentiators have been hacked away at by other more boutique burger brands now. Anyone who wants a specialty burger likely has multiple options now... not just 'fresh vs fast food'

As to why someone should go there... it's meant to be a throwback to service and a quality, fresh product. They make a great burger and have classic shoestring fries.
 

TrainChasers

Well-Known Member
Because you stated "It’s so simple that you’d think other companies would figure out what work"

The point was as stated... a good portion of that success is hard to replicate at scale. And what is scale in that industry? Let's look at the competitors... and the kinds of companies that have not figured out how to replicate their success in their own product. Hence why someone would 'compare them to other companies' when someone postulates why 'other companies' haven't figured out how to duplicate their success.
If they are #19 by number of stores but #5 by revenue AND they are closed one day of the week... I’d say others should be taking notice. You don’t agree?
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
If they are #19 by number of stores but #5 by revenue AND they are closed one day of the week... I’d say others should be taking notice. You don’t agree?
Imagine were they would be if they were open on Sunday. They would be knocking the top or close to the top of the list in at least the revenue section. Why would anyone want to follow that lead.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
If they are #19 by number of stores but #5 by revenue AND they are closed one day of the week... I’d say others should be taking notice. You don’t agree?

Uhh... no one said CFA wasn't successful nor that no one noticed.

The whole point was 'knowing' or 'taking notice' as you hinted to isn't the problem for competitors to learn from CFA. It's that you can't take a McDonalds and simply say "do what CFA does... ". CFA's differentiators are built into their operations and management mandates and it takes a firm hand and commitment to make those things payoff.

Everyone is aware of CFA's success and their differentiators. The challenge for other companies is to either counter them or decide which they should embrace themselves.. even decisions like deciding if some image 'borrowing' or refreshes are needed.

CFA wasn't going unnoticed by anyone :)
 

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
It's funny how the short lived, small discussion about Belgium vs Dutch cuisine was flagged by Mom as off topic, while there are now pages and pages about fast food in the Igers Legacy thread ;)
Maybe the common link is how various other popular businesses maintain their niche advantage in a crowded field of competitors. Although Disney is too much of a juggernaut to be niche at this point.
 

Touchdown

Well-Known Member
In and out makes a fine burger, but it’s not the best regional burger chain IMO. That crown belongs to Wisconsin’s ver own Culver’s. I slightly prefer their burgers to In and out, Culver’s crinkle fries beat them hands down and for the ace in the hole, Culver’s also serves Frozen Custard, has a much more varied menu and has fried cheese curds.

In short, my top 3 regional fast food chains are:
1. Culvers
2. In and Out
3. Shake Shack

Not a regional FAST food chain:
1. Five Guys-It takes 10-15 min for your order to come out, does not have drive thru and is very delicious but it’s a casual dining restaurant not fast food.
 

ImperfectPixie

Well-Known Member
In and out makes a fine burger, but it’s not the best regional burger chain IMO. That crown belongs to Wisconsin’s ver own Culver’s. I slightly prefer their burgers to In and out, Culver’s crinkle fries beat them hands down and for the ace in the hole, Culver’s also serves Frozen Custard, has a much more varied menu and has fried cheese curds.

In short, my top 3 regional fast food chains are:
1. Culvers
2. In and Out
3. Shake Shack

Not a regional FAST food chain:
1. Five Guys-It takes 10-15 min for your order to come out, does not have drive thru and is very delicious but it’s a casual dining restaurant not fast food.
Fry style is a total battle in our house...I prefer crinkle (because they get nice and crispy), hubby prefers beefy steak-fries (which to me are just baked potato slices).
 

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
Fry style is a total battle in our house...I prefer crinkle (because they get nice and crispy), hubby prefers beefy steak-fries (which to me are just baked potato slices).
I rarely eat fries but if I do at BK or MickeyDs I only want them freshly fried. I ask for a serving of fries - no salt. The crewmember has to fry a fresh batch just for me. I then ask for a few salt packets on the side once they bag up my order.
 

networkpro

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
Yes
A function of time, place, and nostalgia.
So someone who has had Five Guys, Smashburger, Whataburger, Fosters, or any other of the 3 dozen plus burger specialty places at their doorstep for the last 10+ years goes into a In n Out Burger for the first time and goes 'meh... good but not a standout' simply because they have no attachment to the aurora around it or see it as much of a unique offer because they are surrounded by 'like products' all over now.

Whataburger has been around Texas since 1950, so grouping them among the recent "also-rans" isn't valid
In and out makes a fine burger, but it’s not the best regional burger chain IMO. That crown belongs to Wisconsin’s ver own Culver’s. I slightly prefer their burgers to In and out, Culver’s crinkle fries beat them hands down and for the ace in the hole, Culver’s also serves Frozen Custard, has a much more varied menu and has fried cheese curds.

In short, my top 3 regional fast food chains are:
1. Culvers
2. In and Out
3. Shake Shack

Not a regional FAST food chain:
1. Five Guys-It takes 10-15 min for your order to come out, does not have drive thru and is very delicious but it’s a casual dining restaurant not fast food.

Well your focus is well away from any park, I'd stack Braums against anything from the Midwest.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Whataburger has been around Texas since 1950, so grouping them among the recent "also-rans" isn't valid
Fair point - but the point was not that they are 'copy cats' as much as "if you come from an area established with boutique burger joints ... something like In n Out isn't going to be as big of a delta to you... " (compared to someone who only has fast food or casual dining options around them).

The food gap differentiator for In n Out is greatly diminished if someone is used to having today's gourmet or speciality burger joints around.

Damn... now I'm hungry for Five Guys ...
 

Touchdown

Well-Known Member
Whataburger has been around Texas since 1950, so grouping them among the recent "also-rans" isn't valid


Well your focus is well away from any park, I'd stack Braums against anything from the Midwest.
Culver’s is in Orlando FYI. I’ve been to Braums, it does not make the list. Culver’s I believe is one of the fastest growing restaurant chains. It’s now in 25 states.
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
Maybe the common link is how various other popular businesses maintain their niche advantage in a crowded field of competitors. Although Disney is too much of a juggernaut to be niche at this point.
THIS is actually the thing I'm most interested in. Disney is realizing that they were a juggernaut under the old, single-audience approach to content (see our conversation in the "Strategic Restructuring Announced" thread). This new approach might see Disney approaching their audience more like the collection of niche audiences that it has become.
 

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