Grill'd for those who haven't seen it is a chain of fast food hamburger restaurants in Australia. Launched by Simon Crowe in Melbourne in 2004, they've relatively recently franchised and quickly expanded their chain of burger bars. They offer 24 different burgers and 4 salads ranging in price from around $7.90 to 14.90. The burgers are cooked to order and are generally ready in about 5-7 minutes. Grill'd pitch themselves as a healthy eating option with fresh ingredients and low fat patties.
To give a quick summary here's what I think they've done well:
- The burgers are amazing, up there with the best I've ever had anywhere in the world. The ingredients look and taste incredibly fresh, and they even only use the dark green pieces of lettuce, something which I've always thought makes a burger look much better. (I assume they only buy the darker parts of the lettuce from their suppliers rather than throwing out the whiter parts).
- The kitchens are in the open, you can see your burger being cooked, the people cooking it and you can see how clean they keep the kitchen.
- The restaurants have lots of seating and a higher end fitout with lots of wooden panelling and nice looking chairs. My local Grill'd on Crown St. in Darlinghurst has bar style seating opening out onto the street and even has a great selection of magazines and newspapers you can read while you wait for and eat your burger.
- The staff are incredibly friendly and look like they're having fun at work. They always have something friendly and nice to say whether it's about the weather, events happening in Sydney or something you're wearing. I went to Grill'd on Australia day with family and the staff were all dressed up with Australian flag bandanas and tattoos and they even gave us an Australian flag to put on our 2 year old cousin's pram. Happy, friendly, outgoing staff is not an easy thing to achieve, particularly with a franchised chain but they clearly select and train their franchisees well and those franchisees then do a great job of building a strong, vibrant culture within their stores.
- Their marketing is excellent. The burgers are wrapped and packaged beautifully and they include a little booklet all about Grill'd with takeaway orders. They're active on Foursquare, you get a free small chips with any burger purchase by checking in and the mayor gets a free burger on Friday. During Movember, anyone sporting a Mo got a free burger at certain hours on Fridays.
- The fries are delicious. They're thick, they use chunky looking salt and add some tasty fresh herbs - oregano and thyme is my guess. They also have 3 delicious sauce options.
- If you don't eat your free Foursquare fries and choose juice as a drink then I think the Grill'd claim for being a healthy eating option is probably quite reasonable. My favourite burger is actually 'Garden Goodness', a vegetarian burger which seems to fit the healthy bill.
My previous favourite burger chain in the world was In 'N Out Burger in the US which I still love, but I think Grill'd beats it. My previous favourite burger chain in Australia was Oporto but after about 10 Grill'd outings I decided to go back to one of their stores the other day and the whole experience was worlds apart from Grill'd. Everything from the tired store fitout, the uninterested staff and even the burgers which I thought I loved just weren't up to the same standard as Grill'd.
Hats off to the Grill'd team for building a fantastic hamburger retailing business.