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How to beat the burger competition | Skipping Girl Takeway

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It seems the popularity of the burger in Melbourne just keeps on growing. You would think there would be enough room in the burger market to run a successful business. However, given the intense level of competition in the burger space with constant pressure on prices and costs, it still takes a brave person to invest in and run any new burger venture. There are constant stories of cafes and quick service restaurants opening and closing in inner city Melbourne. Such a man is Eyal Talmor, owner of Skipping Girl Takeaway, in Abbotsford. Opened in July 2016 and after 1 year in business, Skipping Girl Takeaway is not only surviving but thriving with exciting future plans on the horizon.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Eyal. From that interview, I have listed below some of the key factors that have contributed to the success of Skipping Girl Takeaway.

Have a very clear vision

The vision for Skipping Girl Takeaway was to re-create the essence of an old school milk bar. Specifically, via offering a core menu of high quality traditional burgers, chips and shakes in a friendly local neighbourhood setting.

The aim was for it to become a destination venue, critically important given that the location is not on a busy street with a lot of passing traffic nor near many other retail shops. The location chosen is in an industrial backstreet of Abbotsford, in inner city Melbourne. The site was previously run as a cafe called Abbotsford Lunchbox and has the feel of an old school corner shop. The kitchen area was already set up to run as a cafe and didn’t require major infrastructure work.

Focus on doing less things but do them very very well

Eyal believed that there were enough competitors doing a modern take on burgers. Skipping Girl’s menu offered traditional burgers (with beef, chicken and vegetable the focus), chips and shakes using only the highest quality ingredients. There are no haloumi, mushroom or pulled pork burgers etc.. on the menu.

Wagyu beef is s standard on all Skipping Girl beef burgers which give the burger outstanding flavour and juiciness. Chips and potato cakes are made in-house instead of buying food service frozen chips. The chips are then triple cooked giving them a unique flavour and crispy texture. Brioche buns are used in the burger to help caramelise the surface area. This ensures that the sauce doesn’t get overly absorbed into the bun and cause it to fall apart (particularly important when transporting for home deliveries). For the chicken burger, the chicken has been in a buttermilk brine for 48 hours.

Reaching out to bloggers and online opinion leaders

Eyal believed they had a very good burger offering that would compare extremely well against other competitive burger offerings. He actively reached out to bloggers even before opening getting them to try, review and blog about them.

Some examples include: Consider the Sauce , The Penguin Eats , Concrete Playground , The Northsider , Burgers of Melbourne , Melbourne Food Finds

As the exposure grew, Skipping Girl takeaway started to appear on Melbourne best burger lists and attracted further coverage from larger and more traditional outlets such as: Broadsheet MelbourneHerald Sun , The Urban List ,

The icing on the cake however was being honoured at the Big Burger Biannual in Nov 2016. Competing against 18 other burger vendors, Skipping Girl Takeaway was judged the overall winner by a panel of food bloggers. It was judged as the only burger shop to rate in the Top 3 in both the beef pattie and chip categories on the day.

Do something unique and fun

Skipping Girl use a branding iron machine to imprint the Skipping Girl logo on all of their buns.

The sauce wall. What started out as putting a few sauces on offer grew and grew into one of the largest, if not the largest offering of sauces and condiments this author has seen outside of a supermarket.

Being very active on social media

Facebook (1,845 followers) and Instagram (3,424 followers) are used to showcase menu items that  have a strong visual impact and appeal such as the burger stacks, shakes and the recently introduced poutines. See recent posts from the Instagram feed below. Post frequency is kept relatively light at an average of 2 – 3 quality posts per week. In the future video will play an increasingly important part of the content strategy.

Old school offline promos when required

At a recent community event in nearby Victoria Park, handing out flyers with their current menu to hungry patrons leaving the event on an early Sunday evening drove a spike in sales that evening.

Tapping into home delivery

Becoming listed with the most popular food home delivery services such as Foodora, Deliveroo and Uber Eats has also driven a further increase in sales. Home delivery is an important part of the business given their physical location being away from high traffic areas.

What’s next

Skipping Girl is the process of getting a liquor licence and also opening up a bar area upstairs offering more seating just in time for spring and summer.

Here’s to many more burgers to come

 

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Konrad Markham

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