Battle of the burger bucks: competition heats up in Lawrence

by: Research and Writing blog

LAWRENCE, Kan.— Lawrence’s food industry is made up of local restaurants intertwined amongst a large number of national chains.

A new burger franchise, Smashburger is opening May 14th at 6th and Wakarusa.

 img_0907_21With the addition of one more competitor in Lawrence’s battle of the burgers the competition between businesses heats up.

In order to be successful, restaurants like Smashburger and Lawrence’s own Local Burger create their individual business tactics.

It’s all about the brandAccording to The American Marketing Association, a brand is a company’s tactic of setting its business apart from the competition by establishing an identity with goods and services.

A strong brand is a key element in success for any type of restaurant, local or national.

Local Burger creator, Hilary Brown establishes the brand of Local Burger by giving away t-shirts, posting menus through out Lawrence, and promoting events where their logo could be seen.

Smashburger’s brand is its name.

Oklahoma City Franchise owner, David Kurtz, “People hear the name Smashburger and get curious.”

Kurtz also expresses the unique atmosphere that customers are presented with when they visit the restaurant. With words like “smash”, “sizzle” and “savor” printed largely on the walls people are excited to try the product.

Social media generates businessOne way that both Local Burger and Smashburger interact with customers is its use of social media.

According to social media expert Chris Brogan, “The social web has enabled all kinds of new opportunities to communicate.”

Local Burger and Smashburger use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to advertise special events, daily deals and to receive feedback.

The use of social media is a recurring theme in communicating to college students. By using these sites, Local Burger and Smashburger invoke the student’s interest. Once they have caught the eye of the customers, new business will be generated.

Expanding its brandBusinesses in Lawrence rely heavily on the students at the University of Kansas. Hamburgers and fries are cheap and easy, something that attracts college students.

Unfortunately, Local Burger’s prices have to compensate for their use of organic and local ingredients. Something that’s not very appealing to many college students.

Local Burger sponsors KU environmental events; however advertising to college students is not a top priority.

Brown said that she doesn’t have the time or the money to appeal to KU students right now.

“Most students want cheap food and booze,” Brown said.

Smashburger takes a different angle when appealing to customers, putting KU students at the top of the list.

Lawrence’s Smashburger will be featuring a number of  specials:

o      Two burgers made with Kansas City’s Gates Bar-B-Q sauce

o      Microbrews from Lawrence’s Free State Brewery

o      Special deals offered to KU faculty and students that show identification.

Also, Smashbuger caters to students’ hectic schedules.

“Smashburger is very casual, you walk in, order, sit down and five minutes later you have your food,” Kurtz says.

May 14th will be the day that Smashburger will see if its brand sells in Lawrence, and with KU students, as it has other cities nationwide.