How Pacific Northwest burger chain Burgerville invests in people, product, planet

Beloved burger chain is proving that taking care of your people, product and planet can lead to profit.

 

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 sam.oches@informa.com.

TAGS: Fast Casual
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