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Several years ago, Hilary Brown decided to open a burger joint in Lawrence, KS. She readily admits that folks around town questioned whether the world, or for that matter Lawrence, needed another place to get a hamburger. After all, this is a college and fast food is plentiful.
Brown tells that to her doubters she enthusiastically replied, "what I'm creating is the next generation of burger joints." Local Burger, as her restaurant is called, takes into consideration where food comes from as well as the environment, unnatural additives, and sustainable agriculture. All of the creative dishes served at Local Burger are prepared from foods grown or raised no more than 200 miles away (some less than 5). In addition, most products are organic and gluten free, including local wine and beer.
The restaurant is billed as The World's Most Local Burger and the menu even features a chart displaying products purchased from local farmers and suppliers and the distance to each. It also happens to be one of the few places around where you can get elk, buffalo, pork, turkey and tofu burgers.
Using local as a way to differentiate an otherwise commodity type business and then backing it up with every brand element and process is a powerful way to fight chains and the need to compete solely on price. Brown's strategy and business model have landed her on the pages of Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Outside and on the Sundance Channel. You can follow Local Burger on twitter.
In our current economic environment, local has a nice feel to it as well.