Be the Burger

On my morning pilgrimage to Starbucks this week, my stomach began sending me some signals… FEWD! NOW! (in the Mike Myers voice from “So I Married An Axe Murderer)

Starbucks for years has had an assortment of pastries and donuts ready to infuse carbohydrates into your bloodstream, and more recently they’ve dipped their hand into the breakfast food basket offering oatmeal (don’t get me started), english muffin sandwiches, tortilla wraps and such. The concept is solid. I’m coming there for coffee, why not offer food? So I obeyed my hunger pangs and picked up the Chicken Sausage Wrap. Score?

Jack Squat

Starbucks has been a mistress of mine for years. I wake each day jonesing for her dark elixir. So, I’ve tried just about every donut-frappuccino-latte-concoction they have. At times I’ve ventured out and sampled many of the breakfast products, but found them lacking and oh so bland. The purchased wrap would be no different. One bite. Done.

After my rant to my fellow workmates I pondered why Starbucks venture into uncharted waters of breakfast cuisine (*cough* Money). For me, and many brands (and people) fall prey to this, why expand your offerings – and if you do, why put out sub par products? (Obviously, Starbucks intention wasn’t to shoot a brick.)

The expression, “Jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind. I found a better translation in Mandarin… yes, Mandarin, “All trades known, all trades dull.” And who doesn’t remember that old Esperanto saying, “he who chases two jackrabbits catches none.” By offering “everything” are you at risk of offering nothing? Possibly. It’s true that having a single focus allows you the luxury of honing your craft.

mandarin

That said, I am and will forever be a Starbucks Man, but just their coffee. Coffee is the one thing they do well and when I think of that morning fix, I think of Starbucks.

Do fries come with that shake

Just this week, while out to lunch with @mugrad, he suggested we visit Five Guys. Not having sampled Five Guys goodies… um, wait. They do burgers and fries – so we went. The “burgery” boasts white walls with red trim, a full view of the grill and modest tables and chairs. @Mugrad gave me the insiders scoop on how to order. The menu is clean (not counting the grease) and simple. What you see is what you ingest. Burger eaten. Burger good. Burger, very good. They do burgers. They do burgers exceptionally well. It made this consumer take note. I didn’t find their brand suffering from an identity crisis. Instead I found a company who knew who they were – they make burgers… really well. Burger (good) is as burger does.

So, being good at one thing is… good. And just because you are, doesn’t mean you should make really bland chicken sausage wraps.

Be the Burger

 

 

 

About Jonathan Sexton

Has been running the Marketing countryside for over 14 yrs. During his wanderings he’s done work with major brands like, The J. Peterman Company, HGTV, and Sir Sean Connery.

What Do You Think?
Anonymous says:

YELLOW! (inside joke for Michael)
I didn’t take aim at the entire line of Starbucks food products, merely the hot breakfast items. And they are bland. The peppermint brownie cake pop was not under fire, as pastries and other sugary baked goods are harder to taste unpleasant.

And the point behind Five Guys making burgers, wasn’t to say they only make burgers, but to show they haven’t gone outside their “one thing” model. Burgers (even veggie – gross), hot dogs, fries fall under the burger canopy. If they decided to offer pizza, that would fall outside that heading to me.

Moonshine says:

YELLOW! (inside joke for Michael)

I didn’t take aim at the entire line of Starbucks food products, merely the hot breakfast items. And they are bland. The peppermint brownie cake pop was not under fire, as pastries and other sugary baked goods are harder to taste unpleasant. And it’s obviously a money driven decision.

And the point behind Five Guys making burgers, wasn’t to say they only make burgers, but to show they haven’t gone outside their “one thing” model. Burgers (even veggie – gross), hot dogs, fries fall under the burger canopy. If they decided to offer pizza, that would fall outside that heading to me.

Totally disagree with you on Starbucks’s food offerings. I find most of them quite tasty, including the oatmeal. I’m sure money was a prime motive for offering food, but Starbucks has an incredible feedback mechanism called My Starbucks Idea where customer submit and vote on ideas. So far, there have been 12,993 ideas and suggestions for food all time. Me thinks Starbucks is giving the people what they want. It just sucks your taste buds are so numb that you cannot enjoy the peppermint brownie cake pop. YUMMY.

To your other point, focusing on one thing and doing it well works well, too. But Five Guys also offers hot dogs and (shudder) a veggie sandwich. Are they now a jack of all trades, too?