For days, I've been putting off writing this post because it pains me to say bad things about people who try really hard, and the guys at Number Nine Burgers are trying really hard.
As far as I can tell, it's one lone guy, with help from his sons, slinging burgers outside Michigan Stadium on game days. He sets up his stand, complete with griddle, condiment table, and chalkboard menu, and the peeps line up. They do. I did.
He has his social media all lined up. Twitter page, blog with catchy slogan ("flippin' good burgers"), a personal story. He's even savvy enough to post on some of the Michigan football blogs, thanking people for their patronage and telling the story about how he and his son made it into Michigan Stadium for the first time on Saturday but were almost kicked out of the student section (presumably because his tickets were in another section). Two selfless students gave him their tickets, and they were able to stay. That kind of heartfelt sucking up drives business.
What we're looking at is a potential burger goldmine. A captive audience of 100,000 hungry fans. A cool logo. A college town where a good third of all retail space is vacant, and probably deeply discounted, thanks to the economy.
But then there's the burgers. I had my first one on Saturday.
Dude. Mr. Nineburger, reach out to me. We need to talk. First, using frozen, pre-formed patties does not the best burger make. The patty was thin and had fillers. The cheese was not melted. The bun was really average. You can do better.
I love your idea, but the execution just isn't there. You know the picture of the burger on your website, the one where the cheese is dripping down the side of the patty, and the bacon looks like it's on steroids? That's what each and every burger should look like. I am losing saliva over the thought of that burger. I would stand in line over and over again for that burger, but not for the one I had on Saturday.
So get your burgers in order. Add fries to the menu, preferably the skin-on kind. Get a soda fountain featuring Coke products. Find some investors (and not by asking for donations on your website - you need some deep pockets) and a good location. And then I think you got yourself a business.