I love a good burger. Most people who eat meat, heck even those that don’t, probably would agree that there’s nothing like the all American food. Even if that means your burger of desire is a veggie or mushroom burger as opposed to one with a slab of meat on it.
New Yorkers have an advantage over the rest of us in the States as there seems to be an informal one-upmanship going on between several local restaurants trying to take the top spot for the city’s Best Burger. The competition has gotten a bit out of hand though with a couple of local vendors vying for the most expensive burger in town.
Enter the $175 burger.
New York’s Wall Street Burger Shoppe is better known for it’s $5 sandwiches and reasonably priced fare than it’s $175 burger. The high priced entry started out as an effort to one-up the $150 burger served over at Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne. Boulud’s burger featured double-truffle patties as justification for the high price.
Kevin O’Connell, Wall Street Burger Shoppe’s owner, had to come up with something pretty spectacular to outdo the Bistro Moderne burger. The result is the “Richard Nouveau” which features 10 ounces of Kobe beef, foie gras, exotic mushrooms, cave-aged Gruyère, and fresh truffles. All of these ingredients are packed between a brioche bun. Sounds delicious, but there is one more ingredient that sets this burger apart from all others: gold.
O’Connell said, “It needed an extra kick,” so that’s what he gave it. He mixes gold flakes with his truffle mayonnaise. What’s more, he also sprinkles gold flakes on top of the burger. In total, 750 milligrams of gold goes into each burger. An average of two Riachard Nouveaus are ordered a week.
My first thought about this burger is “Who would eat this thing?” I’m not really sure I want to eat gold. Not only does it seem like a waste, it’s just so odd.
As I read the article about the $175 hamburger, I couldn’t help but think about a burning question I’ve had for a long time about web sites, products, affiliate campaigns, etc: Is there really room for another big, successful, high traffic site/blog/campaign to be built? It may seem like a simple question with an obvious answer, but when you move from the dreaming state about an idea to actually building whatever it is you’re working on, doubts can creep in pretty fast.
The glaring answer I get from reading an article about an informal competition to serve the most expensive hamburger is an emphatic YES. There is always room to build something that’s better, faster, cheaper. This is pretty much true regardless of the niche, product, etc. It also holds true despite how much audience share an existing site, product or campaign has. The key is evaluating the competition, finding where they are deficient or missing the mark and improving on their efforts.
This takes a lot of pressure off of the average entrepreneur. No longer is an original idea really required. You just need to be good at looking at how current offerings are meeting the needs of the intended customer and how you can do it better. There’s always room for improvement.
One note, I’m not advocating copying an existing offering, but there’s no reason you can’t learn from someone who is successful and hopefully avoid mistakes they’ve made.
Where to go from here? For those with existing sites/blogs/products/campaigns you want to improve…look at your competition and see what they’re doing you aren’t. How can you improve? If you’re looking to start something new, again, look at the most popular offerings. What are they doing right and not doing so well?
The question you should be asking yourself is, “How can I sprinkle a little gold onto what I’m offering?”
[Image by Kang Kim]