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How Hopdoddy Burger Bar is redefining what it means to be a burger chain

Hopdoddy CEO Jeff Chandler on what makes Hopdoddy stand out from the crowd, and why they took plant-based proteins off the menu


While many mid-sized, fast-casual burger chains are investing more in plant-based proteins, Hopdoddy is all about the beef (and bison, and ahi tuna, and chicken). In fact, the Austin-based restaurant chain recently removed all manufactured plant-based proteins from its menu (though they kept a housemade vegetarian patty on the menu) and invested instead in “regenerative meat.” Regenerative meat uses agricultural techniques that are healthy for the ecosystem, like raising animals on grazing pastures with healthy soil and no hormones or antibiotics.

This switch from Impossibles and Beyonds to beef and bison that helps the environment is just one of the factors that helps Hopdoddy stand out from the crowd of trendy burger brands. CEO Jeff Chandler emphasized that his brand is constantly looking for new ways to redefine and repackage the simple burger, from the eight proteins on the menu to the sometimes unexpected toppings and flavors in every sandwich, like the Llano Poblano burger topped with poblanos, or a burger twist on a club sandwich made with a ground turkey patty.

“We do the familiar in an unfamiliar way,” Chandler said. “We are an elevated burger brand that thinks about burgers differently than anyone else… the breadth and depth of how we build burgers, the quality, the uniqueness, the variety of what we put into it, is just done differently. We think it’s more special.”

Specials are actually the name of the game at Hopdoddy; every month the team at Hopdoddy comes up with a burger special of the month. For January, that burger is the Big Parma—a burger version of the classic chicken parmesan hero that comes back as a monthly special every year. 

“We think of any unique flavors and proteins that we can put in between hamburger buns and we showcase that every month with our specials,” Chandler said. “Early on, our founders had a saying, ‘if we can grind it and grill it, we can serve it,’ and that’s been our mantra ever since…. Whether people are coming in for the first time, or they’re coming in to try the new burger of the month, we built that loyalty on being unique and differentiated.”

Hopdoddy isn’t only about serving burgers in new and unexpected ways; the company has also been at the forefront of technology investment and improved company culture. In May 2023, Hopdoddy partnered with Kea to create an AI voice ordering system, which Chandler said they did to improve the people experience by reducing the typical labor pain points. Hopdoddy is people-centric and people-first, Chandler said.

“We have an affectionate saying around here that we hire from the island of misfit toys,” Chandler said. “That’s not meant to be derogatory in any way, but there are a lot of people who get passed over because they have tattoos or nose rings. Our hiring practices are very open-minded…we feel that’s a strength of ours because we’re just looking for good people.”

This year, expect to see more of Hopdoddy in Nashville and in Texas as the burger brand bolsters its presence in core markets.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

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