As Channing Tatum once said, "Life is too short to miss out on a double cheeseburger." Hopdoddy is Austin's prize gem when it comes to burgers, so we're excited to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day by featuring them on the blog! It's crazy to think that in the beginning, the owners never intended on opening more than one Hopdoddy location. They went viral and are in such high demand that they are now expanding to Nashville and Fort Worth. There's nothing quite like a cheeseburger and fries to cure a hangover, heartbreak, or bad day. Fries before guys...every time, especially if it's parmesan truffle fries from Hopdoddy. Read on as their marketing and brand manager, Erin Fohn, dishes on how Hopdoddy continues to expand by maintaining high standards when it comes to their food, customer service, branding and more.
Tell us about your humble beginnings. How was the concept born and how has it grown since the original vision?
Hopdoddy Burger Bar started in 2010 on Austin's bustling South Congress Street. Our founders of Hopdoddy, Guy Villavaso, Larry Foles, Chuck Smith and Larry Perdido, loved burgers and beer and wanted a good option for both in their backyard, but being experienced restaurateurs, they knew they had to make the best burger possible. From the beginning, Hopdoddy set high standards for quality making everything from scratch – from house made condiments and sauces to freshly baked buns and grinding their meats in house. Looking back on the original vision, the founders never expected to open more than one Hopdoddy. However, the burger bar became popular so quickly that we started opening new locations to meet guest demands. Over the years we've opened locations in areas where our fans have requested new restaurants the most.
What is Hopdoddy's mission and why do you think Hopdoddy was such a success?
Since day one, Hopdoddy has taken special care to make the best burger possible and has not let standards fall with the restaurant's growth. We know our guests crave quality and variety and we make sure to keep that at the top of our priorities.
Branding is equally as important as the quality of the food. How did you decide on what direction you wanted to take with it?
The founders of Hopdoddy have high standards, but they are also fun guys who don't take themselves too seriously. So that's what has inspired our branding. We have unwavering standards for the quality of food and hospitality, but we want to make sure everyone is having fun and a laugh along the way. We also pull a lot of our branding inspiration from our hometown in Austin.
We love your funny slogans and art covering your walls! How does your team come up with clever branding slogans and do you refresh them over time?
We are always adding new slogans and love to take suggestions from the restaurants' teams. We think it's important to give our team members the opportunity to help us bring the Hopdoddy brand to life. The photography and wall art found in the restaurants is shot by a longtime friend of Hopdoddy. We do refresh that every once in a while, as he sees more live music and takes new photos.
What have you learned about creating a memorable brand?
Listen to your guests and give them what they ask for.
What's the key ingredient when it comes to building a social presence like Hopdoddy has?
Social media has been a direct line of communication with our guests, so we try to keep it real and authentic. It's a communication channel we don't take for granted.
What has been Hopdoddy's proudest moment thus for? What's coming up next?
Our Goodnight Good Cause program donates $1 from every Goodnight Burger sold to local nonprofit partners in each market. This program has been very special to Hopdoddy over the years. The Goodnight program allows us and our guests to give back to our communities in a special way and create touching experiences for everyone involved. We have a couple of openings happening in new markets that we are super excited about. We just expanded to Fort Worth in August and are headed to Tennessee in the coming months with a new location in Nashville!