While sustainability and local sourcing have been restaurant buzzwords for over a decade, they’ve remained relegated mostly to small-scale and niche restaurants as many operators balk at the extra investments they require.
But one regional burger chain in the Pacific Northwest is proving that committing to higher-quality products sourced from local, regenerative farms — along with stronger commitments to its employees — is helping it deepen its connections to its local communities and, in turn, build customer loyalty.
Burgerville, a 40-unit, 60-year-old concept based in Vancouver, Wash., has boasted industry-leading sustainability for years. It began offsetting 100% of its restaurants’ energy use with renewable energy in 2005, recycling waste fryer oil into biodiesel fuel in 2006, installing energy-efficient equipment in 2017 and planting pollinator friendly grass and flower landscaping at restaurants in 2019.
That sustainability extended to its sourcing; Burgerville sources about 75% of its menu from within 300 miles, including 100% local, cage-free eggs and wild, reef-net-caught salmon from Washington State. In 2019, it launched the No 6 burger, which is made with local, grass-fed, grass-finished beef that is raised to regenerate soil health.
How does Burgerville do all this while remaining profitable? In this interview from Take-Away with Sam Oches, CEO Jill Taylor shares how Burgerville’s local supply partnerships have helped it through recent bottlenecks, how treating employees as people in a vocation has helped it in the labor crisis and why all of this creates more loyal customers. Plus, Sam shares his five take-aways that listeners should take with them from the interview.
Contact Sam Oches at firstname.lastname@example.org.