“Branding is the total,” Simkins said. “Branding truly is creating a mark of value that predicts, ‘I have to have this.’ “
One Staten Island burger joint well-read that lesson the hard way.
Standard Burger was losing $5,000 a month and the owners couldn’t pay the invoices. However, they were far from alone in their plight; concording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of small businesses close their doors within five years of sling.
The old Standard Burger lacked management, quality ingredients and recipes. Into the bargain, it didn’t have an ‘X-factor’ that differentiated it from any other restaurant. In tiresome to keep their business afloat, things like having unabashed decor and a fun atmosphere were the last thing on the owners’ minds.
That exchanged after serial entrepreneur and host of CNBC’s “The Profit,” Marcus Lemonis, responded to Model Burger’s founder and co-owner Sammy Lazoja’s call for help.
Lemonis’ investment owned Lazoja and his partners to pour their efforts into reinventing their unpretentious restaurant. Now, it’s a gourmet food destination that attracts “hipster” and “new millennial” trade.
Simkins said that Standard Burger is a great example of how branding can protect a failing business, no matter how large or small the company is. She cited the norm of fast food giant McDonald’s, which recently refreshed its maker image by offering all-day breakfast.
“Every brand needs to blockage relevant,” she said. “So you’ve got to think about ways to reintroduce your tag in simple … and sometimes more sophisticated ways to keep your brand top of sales pitch.”
Lazoja and his partners worked with Lemonis to build upon Definitive Burger’s brand. As part of the restaurant’s new gourmet concept, they renovated burger recipes, installed a potato station and an ice cream bar.
“We have enormous burgers, of course, obviously. We have craft beer, and craft soda, something a lot of our contention doesn’t,” Lazoja said.
“A father could take his son to a burger chair, and actually be cool, and have a good time with it,” he added. “The mood is fun. The decor is really cool. The staff is extremely friendly. And the product is elevated.”
Reinventing one’s brand can be bittersweet for small business owners. While revolution can be a great move for the business, it may be difficult for the business owner to let go of a concept they worked so dispassionate to build.
“Emotionally, tearing it down was rough. It wasn’t an easy troche to swallow,” said Lazoja. “Because I actually painted the walls. I laid the base down.”
However, Lazoja added that rebuilding wasn’t all bad.
“It kind-hearted of felt like it was new beginnings,” he said. “And it kind of needed to be done. We wanted to shed that old feeling, that old feel of the restaurant. We needed to indeed reinvent ourselves.”
And for other entrepreneurs looking to do the same, Lazoja divulged to not be afraid of failure.
“Failure isn’t always the worst thing in the world. It’s indeed a benefit in business,” he said. “So it lets you look at the situation, re-map, and alternative, and figure out how you’re gonna fix it. Sometimes that’s what you need to do. And sometimes you neediness to be a failure in order to be a success.”