The Big Idea: The Original Burger Co.

Customization is king at Sodexo's new burger concept.

Laura Thompson
Director of Marketing Retail Brand Group,

Sodexo, Allentown, Pa.

The Original Burger Co. was developed to fill a need in the Sodexo portfolio for a quick-service burger concept. It’s all about customization. It’s all about quality in the customization of those ingredients, and that customers can get it fast. Within that customization we have some core toppings for the burgers, but the excitement comes from some of the limited-time offer toppings that we have.

The physical concept is retro in appearance: simple, with clean lines. We want the focus to be on the toppings and the process of ordering. The toppings are in front of the consumer so they can see them as the server is taking his/her order.
Our business is primarily in campus settings. I think it has received the most interest there because of the whole customization piece, with Millennials wanting things their way and wanting more options. We do currently have two locations in healthcare and one in a government setting.

We learned that even though customers want that opportunity for customization, they also like some ideas. Sometimes the breadth of our toppings is a lot, so they’d like some direction. Without being prescriptive with a specific limited-time offer profile, we approached it with what we call the Flavor Experience. It’s a kind of a recipe or suggestion for toppings they can combine to reach a certain flavor profile, such as combining certain toppings to get like a Caesar salad on a burger. We have one that’s called Hot to Trot, which is a series of spicy toppings. Recently we ran a promotion called Rock the Guac, which is picking up on the trend and popularity of avocado. In one of our locations we created a QR code for the Flavor Experience and had a mobile site available so that while customers were waiting on line they could flip through the Flavor Experience suggestions.

We’re famous for our burgers, but our chicken sandwiches are big sellers as well, and the platform is the same. You can make your burger an original and you can also make your chicken sandwich an original. We have both crispy and grilled, and some locations also offer chicken fingers on a sandwich. Recently we ran a Flavor Experience around a turkey burger for a healthy option. We also have a veggie burger as an option.

Price points range from $3.29 for our quarter-pound burger to $4.59 for an Angus burger.  

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools are the latest districts in the Urban School Food Alliance to switch to compostable plates.

The move to the eco-friendlier products will save 19 million polystyrene products from landfills, according to a news release .

Schools often use polystyrene products due to their low cost. Polystyrene trays cost on average around 4 cents apiece, while compostable plates cost an average of 12 cents each. The Urban School Food Alliance’s collective buying power enabled them to create a compostable plate that costs...

Managing Your Business
allergies

Guy Procopio got a taste of the future when Michigan State University hosted a Boy Scout event in 2015. Out of 10,000 participants at the East Lansing, Mich., campus, Procopio, the director of dining services, received 1,400 requests to meet special dietary needs, including a wide spectrum of allergies, gluten intolerance or insensitivity, and other new or unusual hyper-specialized diets.

This dining trend isn’t letting up, at least in America: Food allergies in children increased approximately 50% from 1997 to 2011. They now affect one in 13 children in the United States,...

Industry News & Opinion

Students of Broward County Public Schools in Florida were treated to a special meal by celebrity chef Aria Kagan during lunch last week.

The chef and former contestant on “The Next Food Network Star” prepared her farm-fresh pesto panini in front of students at McNicol Middle School in Hollywood, Fla.

Her visit was part of the district’s Chefs Move to Broward initiative, through which a chef from nonprofit Wellness in the Schools visits district cafeterias each month to prepare a healthy meal. The chef then teaches cafeteria staff how to make the dish so it can be...

Managing Your Business
woman alone in kitchen

In a post-Harvey Weinstein world, there’s an awful anticipation over which star’s worst-kept secret will be outed next. The outpouring of claims of sexual harassment and abuse helped popularize the #MeToo social media campaign, encouraging women to share their stories and spurring allegations against upwards of 60 high-profile men. In October, the movement’s momentum hit the foodservice industry. Since, behemoths such as Mario Batali, John Besh and Todd English were forced to confront accusations of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct.

For many women, the scope of the industry’...

FSD Resources