Super Duper makes a super burger. I’d say it’s in the real fast food category, meaning that it’s fast food that is also real food. In-n-Out and Smashburger would be the same category. We have a few qualms about the menu design (occupational hazard) and there are some inconsistencies to the branding that we’d like to one day address, but when it comes to their eponymous offering it’s hard to find a flaw. Super’s Mini Burger features a 4oz. patty garnished with lettuce, tomato, American cheese and of course their “super sauce”. The patty is thin and their grill is hot, so the meat comes out perfectly seared on the outside and deliciously juicy inside. The buns is basic and toasted. Everything is in perfect proportion. You have the option to add jalapeño, fried egg, onions and other toppings, but as-is it’s about as close to the iconic all-American burger as you can get.
When we turn this blog into a book, we plan to include a full case-study on Super Duper—the strategy naming, branding, decor, menu, experience design, even how they handle their trash. For now, let’s just focus on the pickles. The pickles at Super are pretty amazing. They make them themselves and large jars of them are stocked in the front of their stores. They’re also free. It may seem like a small detail, but it’s a significant one in two important ways:
- Generosity. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but starting off your lunch with a little something on the house creates an atmosphere of generosity, hospitality and general good will. In a world that nickels and dimes you for every little “extra” unlimited free pickles set Super apart as relaxed, friendly and customer-focused.
- Quality. Perhaps the most important function of the pickle is that it sets up an expectation of quality. It is almost guaranteed that the first thing you’ll eat at Super Duper is one (or more) of their free pickles. You’re waiting. They’re there. It’s inevitable. The genius of this is that their pickles are delicious— crisp and tangy with just enough crunch to make each bite a satisfying one. They’re artisanal, not industrial, and this impression is then transferred to the burger.
The Creative Lesson
By stocking them front of house (the way Five Guys stocks its peanuts on the dining area floor) one has the sensation of stepping into a working kitchen rather than some antiseptic fast food cafeteria. By giving their handmade pickles away for free they establish a rapport of pride and generosity with their customers. And by keeping the quality high and consistent they *demonstrate* these values rather than stating them with empty tag lines or insistent signs declaring “hand-crafted” and “artisan”.