The Rise of The Counter in the Burger World

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If you thought that McDonald’s is still the go-to place for your burger, think again! The burger war is in full force across the United States with new restaurants and chains popping up seemingly every month. Chains like Five Guys Burgers and Frys, partly owned by professional golfer Phil Mickelson, is just one of the many franchises now available.

If you live in Southern California as well as selected cities elsewhere in the United States, you may have heard of The Counter. The Counter is considers itself the trendy way to get your burger fix. When you walk in to this restaurant you’re great with trendy music, healthy choices and a clipboard that allows you to customize your burger in more than 300,000 ways!

Like most startups, The Counter started with a new idea by one person. This person was Jeff Weinstein and the year was 2003. The problem with burgers is that they aren’t normally regarded as a food for the health-conscious American. We’ve all seen pictures of that greasy, gooey cheese laden burger that hardly speaks to the increasing amount of Americans who are not only watching their waistline but also their overall health.

Weinstein saw the trend coming and wanted to make the burger something that the healthy person could eat. The Counter offers the traditional burger as well as salads complete with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and lean Angus beef. His concept has caught on. From the opening of his first store, he is now seeing $5 million in annual sales from that one store alone. In addition, The Counter is now franchising with a goal of 400 to 600 restaurants. Weinstein is well on his way to his goal.

The Counter became a household name when Oprah Winfrey mention The Counter on her show. Sales jumped from $44,000 per month to $245,000 per month. Later GQ magazine place The Counter as one of the burgers that you have to taste before you die. Since then, the restaurant chain has received publicity in many of the major media outlets including Time, the Huffington Post, and a host of local blogs and magazines.

Weinstein noticed the healthy living trend in 2003 before it became mainstream and now his restaurants are seeing the benefits. What are the newest emerging trends right now and how can you capitalize on these trends? A small business that blends in to the landscape often enjoys success but that success is often limited due to a saturated space. If you plan to start a small business in the near future, ask the same question at Weinstein asked: how can satisfy a new need?