Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I can haz cheezburger?

I know I should be blogging about Google's impending entrance into social media or Disney's acquisition of Playdom despite slowing numbers for social media. That will have to go on the back burner for now.

I want to write about my favorite burger places today. I just came back from Los Angeles where I had possibly the most tasty burger of my life at Umami Burger. But I dine for the overall experience how would Umami Burger stack up to other burger places I have been to? I thought about this for a while and could not come to a conclusion without quantifying it. For this I created a spreadsheet of my favorite burger places that took the my individual ratings for taste, presentation and ambiance and the overall Yelp rating that the restaurant gets. I weighted to topics in order of importance and averaged the burgers score. I also wanted to know what type of value I am getting so I divided the burger score by the price. My methodology runs deeper but I don't want to get bogged down too much in the process.

I also added my friend Kent's burger in for fun and projected a possible price for him as well.

  • 1 pound ground beef: 5.99
  • Buns and Condiments: 2.00
  • Total Ingredients: 7.99
  • Makes 4 burgers
  • Cost per burger: 2.00
  • Projected Overhead per burger: 5.00
  • Total Projected Cost per burger 7.00
  • @ projected 30% mark up: 9.09

Criteria for selection:
  • Burger cannot cost more than $15
  • Less than 10 locations
  • I must have devoured it
My Results:

Weighted Average = (Taste*4+Presentation*3+Ambiance*2+Yelp Rating*2) / 4

Despite my ultimate enjoyment of the Umami Burger, it appears that for the overall experience, Slow Club ranks higher. Good news, Slow Club is much closer, bad news, I will still miss Umami. Shake Shack is also a viable contender for those on the east coast. What I like about this place is despite lacking in presentation, you can take this burger down the street and eat in Central Park. My friend Kent's burger is also in the mix but you need a private invitation...sorry. There isn't really a big until Brickhouse, which is what I suspected, since that is really where I experienced a noticeable drop in taste. Gordon Biersch, Vals and Smokehouse lag significantly in overall experience and this tells me that I should avoid these places if money wasn't an issue.

However, money is an issue so I also want to know the value I am receiving.

Value = Weighted Average / Burger Price

Now the burger from Slow Club isn't looking so good anymore. In fact, Shake Shack's 7 dollar burger is overwhelmingly the best deal. Unfortunately, they are now 3,000 miles away. Smokehouses $4 burger pushes them into the number two spot, which makes a solid case to go out and have a burger from them. Kent takes third again, which means he may want to consider quitting his job and open a burger shop instead. In the mean time, I need to find ways to convince him to invite me over for more burgers. There are two sizable drop offs of .3 or more. The first between Shake Shack and Smokehouse. It appears that Shake Shack just has an awesome burger/experience. The second between Umami Burger and Father's Office, so whenever I am in the LA area, you can find me at Umami. Once again, Gordon Biersch is in the cellar so I will not be ordering burgers from them anymore.

* I used the McDonalds Big Mac as a reference because I wanted to see if there was really any value in going to a fast food restaurant. The answer is no!

What I learned from this:
  • Umami Burger although still very good doesn't offer me the best experience.
  • Kent needs to make more burgers
  • I should continue to patronize Slow Club, Umami, and Shake Shack when I want a good burger experience in each respective city.
  • I should continue to patronize Shake Shack, Smokehouse, and Umami when I want a good value.
  • No more Gordon Biersch, Fathers Office or Vals for me.
  • There is absolutely no case for going to McDonalds

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