★ As far as we can tell, Acme Burgerhaus is no longer in business. That’s not a surprise.
Acme Burgerhouse was all sorts of confusing. Let’s start with the fact that every instance of their name was rendered in a different typeface—with three variations on the façade alone. Now, not everyone has a nuanced sense of design, but certainly most people (business owners especially) understand the value of consistency.
The Acme Burgerhaus web site is also profoundly confusing. On it, the establishment is described thusly:
“is to create hamburger recipes from kitchens all around the world and offer them to you in a fun lively environment. Burger fusion is a party of day-to-day life for many home kitchen cooks. Acme Burgerhaus takes that home recipe idea and offers it for sale in our commercial kitchen. Our goal is to make you smile every time you think of going to grab a bueger. Creating unique combinations of ingredients and infusing them in 100% organic beef is the new and innovative way to customize your burgers”
Again, I realize that writing isn’t everyone’s bailiwick (and, yes, I make my share of typos), but this messaging is all over the place. From the first line (which lacks a subject) to the last there’s not one correct sentence to be found. Even ‘burger‘ is spelled wrong. Oy. Though new, innovative and fusion are Acme’s frequently-used buzzwords, in other materials they describe themselves as a “straight-ahead burger joint” and “part roadside diner” (they never mention what the other part is).
Now on to the burger. Although the Yelp reviews often lauded Acme’s creations—from a shrimp and scallop infused patty to Niman Ranch lamb with pine nuts, sumac and mint—we opted for a basic cheeseburger. For that they offer a half-pound patty with American cheese on a ciabatta bun and direct you to the condiment bar. The condiment bar is directly opposite the order counter. When your number is called you have to cross through the order line to get to it, then cross back through with your fully-loaded burger.
The patty itself was decent quality, though not the freshest we’ve had. It was unseasoned, a little on the chewy side, and ultimately forgettable. The bun could be described the same way. The condiment bar offered a modest selection of room-temperature lettuces, slowly wizening tomatoes, sliced jalapeño and onion, and a basic roster of sauces with which to denigrate your burger. Seriously, condiment bars are the worst idea. They’re never fresh and seldom inspired, though they excel in offering you opportunities to ruin your burger. I feel Acme could have handled that responsibility with ease.
All of this disorder is further confused by Acme’s checkered history of closing, reopening, expanding, closing one location, reopening and now (seemingly) shuttering altogether. When I called their number to confirm reports of their closure the line was disconnected, but directory assistance picked up and offered to recommend similar establishments in the same area. I think we could have benefitted from that offer in the first place.
The Creative Lesson
Great design (like any great thing) begins with great leadership and clear vision. It begins with understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing. Next you have to figure out how you’re going to do it. When things start sliding off the rails, you have to return to the why then regroup, refocus and recommit. You may need to take some time out to do that, but when you return make sure you do so with renewed clarity and commitment.