Growing and distinguishing the brand in the crowded burger market is a challenge. Bad Daddy's has three things that enable it to stand out, executives say: A Bad Ass Bar, High Energy Hospitality, and Artfully Crafted Food.
Bad Daddy's has an expanded bar that includes a wide selection of locally crafted microbrews. "We have 24 taps which includes the best craft beers we can find within each restaurant’s trade area,” Hoback says.
Bad Daddy's is also a high-energy environment. When inside a location, you'll hear 70s and 80s rock music pumping through the sound system.
Finally, and most importantly, Hoback says, "It's all about the food—quality and uniqueness of the food."
Hoback describes the food at Bad Daddy's as artfully crafted with simple ingredients but executed at a high level. "We focus on upscale higher-quality food and have a largely scratch kitchen, which includes scratch-made sauces and dressings and good creative recipes." At Bad Daddy's, the company believes offering high-quality food is essential, particularly in this day and age when many people like to consider themselves a foodie and everyone’s an online critic.
Ultimately, though, Bad Daddy's is a burger restaurant and doesn’t stray from that core, and everything it entails. And for Hoback, who has been in the burger business since he was 16, the goal is simple. "We want our customers to think of us for having the best burger. Everything else is secondary."
The secondary points have also been well thought out by the brand, however. "We are committed to the full service, full hospitality model. The goal is to offer radical hospitality and be highly personalized," Hoback says. Bad Daddy's mostly pins its locations to the inner and outer suburban rings, where the restaurant “brings cool to the suburbs.”
The restaurant's typical customer might surprise you. Firstly, Hoback clarifies that Bad Daddy's is not a sports bar or a late-night bar. Upper middle income is the sweet spot, and the crowd skews upscale because of the average check ($18 per person). The clientele tends to be a bit more male. At lunch times, you'll find business people while the dinner crowd is primarily families with children 5–18.
Bad Daddy's strives to be the non-chain chain. "Each Bad Daddy's has its own feel and is tied into the community in some way. We offer some customization via the local food, offering different recipes and local brand partners and have monthly chef specials featuring local ingredients," Hoback says. Bad Daddy's also involves itself in local charities and schools to shed that conglomerate feel and connect with each community on the ground level.
In order to keep its finger on the pulse of its customers, Bad Daddy's is heavily engaged in social media. Hoback says, "It’s the primary way we communicate with our customers." The brand posts daily, respond to every review, and comment when appropriate. In order to encourage reviews and feedback from customers, Bad Daddy's makes a donation to No Kid Hungry for each comment generated from its customer receipt comment line.
As Big Daddy's remains on a steep growth trajectory, the worry is about growing too fast, Hoback says. Questions such as how do you keep an edge to the concept, how to keep its culinary forward while avoiding the institutionalized and commoditized approach are ones they grapple with. However, the brand’s plan revolves around what’s helped it stand out from day one.
"We feel confident about our future,” Hoyback says. “We'll continue to zig when the others zag."