Another in our case studies, this time providing EY waffles and smoothies on their tour of universities around the UK.
It started last summer when we were asked to provide a smoothies cart around a small tour of universities in the Yorkshire/Lancashire regions. EY were signing uni graduates up to their scheme, and thought a giveaway would be better than the usual free pen or such. It worked so well that about a month later we did it all again, this time handing waffles on a stick out.
A couple of month later we were asked to do it a third time, However after finalising that round of waffles. We were contacted by three other EY team members. It turns out that the initial team had exceeded their targets by a massive amount. The other teams looked a bit behind so decided they wanted the same advantage.
The scheme must have worked as we are just putting together the package for another round of events. This time is isn’t EY Waffles, but EY churros.
A short case study about our support for the 100% Club scheme.
About 4 or 5 years ago we supplied a single ride, a Carousel to a school in Leeds. This carried on for about three years, until they suddenly expanded the booking and starting reserving multiple rides and catering.
It turns out that they were running a 100% club. Any kid that had a 100% attendance record for that term would be entitled to spend a period of time at the mini funfair they had booked.
Suddenly we started receiving requests from other schools for the exact same thing. Turns out they were all part of an academy group of schools. We now provide attractions regularly to something like 9 different schools. This ranges from the latest thrill rides to things like burger and chips.
Talking to some of the teachers, it seems that they had posted an increase in average attendance at the schools running the scheme.
The Health and Safety team at the schools were pretty fierce at the first events, and had us jumping through hoops. Gradually they seemed to relax a little and adopt an attitude of suggesting slight improvements where necessary, rather than making a big issue of it. I think the fact that we put so much effort into doing things right, coupled with us making changes as soon as they request them, helped a lot.
This entry in our world’s burger joints is a little different. Rather than a chain this is a single location in Tempe, Arizona.
Founded in 2005 by Jon Basso with the intent of serving “nutritional pornography”. The Heart Attack Grill has one major selling point. It sells the world’s unhealthiest burgers. Ranging from a single upto a octuple heart bypass burger containing a massive 16,000 calories.
If you manage to finish this, you are wheeled out to your car by your personal naughty nurse.
Your side order of fries are cooked in lard, tequila and beer to make sure they contain as many calories as possible. Your soft drinks are made with can sugar, and patrons can buy unfiltered cigarettes.
Big Guests Eat Free
If you happen to weigh over 25 stone, then you eat free. You do have to weigh yourself beforehand, and drinks are excluded from the deal, oh and you can’t share your food.
The whole joint is themed around nurses/doctors. Guests don hospital gowns before eating. The nurses take prescriptions (orders) from the patients (guests).
If you don’t manage to finish your food, then one of the naughty nurses will paddle you. With the option to buy the paddle afterwards.
So, not only is this a hamburger place that uses the time tested tactic of sexy ladies. It also aims to feed you the most unhealthy burgers possible.
What could possibly go wrong?
2011 the Heart Attack Grills spokesman Blair River died at the age of 29 from complications with pneumonia. Not sure if the 41 stone he weighed had any bearing on that.
2012 a customer suffered a heart attack whilst eating one of their burgers. The owner called an ambulance, whilst the other patrons took photos.
2012 A female customer fell unconscious whilst eating a double bypass burger. Though she was also drinking ans smoking.
2013 another spokesman John Alleman (bit of a dangerous job that) dropped dead outside the restaurant whilst waiting for a bus. Not sure how heavy that one was.
When worked the funfair circuit we needed a generator for powering our equipment. Well, we used four of them in fact. When we moved totally into corporate entertainment we made it a condition of the contract that the client provided power.
This work well for a number of years, as usually we were powering perhaps a candy floss and a popcorn machine, so at most a couple of 13 amp sockets were fine.
During covid we suddenly found our clients asking us to provide larger catering services, such as serving four thousand burgers for Amazon in four hours, though that is another tale lol.
We suddenly found ourselves needing sixty and seventy amp supplies. So to translate this into a format that made sense to the client we would specify that we needed like four 13 amp supplies. What would happen is that we would arrive at the venue, be handed a four way socket and told here are your four supplies. Trouble is, the four sockets joined into a single 13amp plug. And ‘Oh’ they would say, ‘your sharing with the DJ, pizza truck and rodeo bull!’
Great, we were gonna be pulling 100 amp from a single 13amp plug. So no power problems expected then.
To circumvent this, we ended up adding some generators to our line up.
This gave us the flexibility to power ourselves and some spare capacity to boot.
Initially we would fill them up from a local garage that sold red diesel. But even though it was only about 4 miles away, it was still a hassle to couple up and run down there for fuel. Additionally at the time it was about £1.40 a litre from them. The local diesel supplier quoted £0.82 a litre, which was a massive saving, but would only deliver a 1000 litres a time.
So we added a fuel bunker to take advantage of this. Other people we know had similar but owning for lift trucks, would simply lift them in the air to allow gravity to dispense the fuel. Not owning a fork lift, we added a battery powered system and a metered pump.
We installed the system in the yard and had it filled. Then had a think about security. Some people feel entitled to help themselves to whatever without legal niceties such as ownership being considered relevant.
So we set about fortifying our diesel. A wifi camera provided not only monitoring of the set up, but would automatically light up the area, sound an alarm and alert me at my phone that someone was at the bunker. We also added locks to the on/off valve, filling hole. and pump switch.
My daughter pointed out that the battery just being sat there was screaming take me take me. So we fitted a secured steel lock box with the battery inside. A jokey conversation with a friend who looked at the system ended with him saying I am surprised you haven’t electrified it.
Ha, cant do that someone might touch it accidentally. Ha, they might, ha ha that could be fun. Yeah lets do it.
The end result is that the system is now fitted with a similar energiser to what farmers use to keep cows in their field. To be fair, it is remotely controlled, and not left live all the time. But I can turn it on from anywhere in the world using my phone. We also added a solar charger to keep the whole shebang topped up.
This time we leave the good ole US of A, and take a look at a chain of burger joints hailing from Belgium. I must admit a soft spot for these as on honeymoon, when we didn’t have a lot of disposable income, we frequented Quicks burgers as the most affordable eatery whilst we were in France and Belgium.
It is also nice seeing a different take in the actors and models used for the advertisements. Whereas the Americans have everyone looking like they have just stepped off a catwalk. Quicks use people that look more like, well people. Check out the welcome video on the homepage, love the part where one guy whips his wig off to reveal he is bald, whilst the other one is eating with his mouth open and full of lettuce.
The chain began life in 1971 when Baron Vaxelaire opened two restaurants in Antwerp and Waterloo. 30 years later it had grown to over 400 stores in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and a number of French overseas territories.
To be honest, the chain doesn’t really do anything outstanding or unique, but it just makes a nice counterpoint to the overload of American chains. Having tasted them I can attest to the fact that their burgers do taste a helluva lot better than your typical McDonalds fare.
All in all, a nice, profitable if rather bland entry into our series of burger joints.
In the past when we specialised in ‘Fun Food’ such as candy floss, doughnuts etc. We usually had it in our contract that the client was to provide power. This worked great for single items.
However as we moved into bigger catering jobs such as gourmet burgers, the discussion would go like this.
“We need four individual 13 amp power supplies”,
Client “No problem”
On arrival we would be handed a 6 way multiplug, which connected to a single 13 amp socket, and then told that the other two connections were for the pizza van and DJ. So all in all they were trying to run some 60 amps from a 13 amp connection.
The predictable result was that we spent most of the night trying to find some way to actual power our kit up.
The Move To L.P.G.
Or to give it its full title, liquid petroleum gas. We bought in a considerable amount of kit that could be powered from portable gas bottles. An added benefit was that many of them actually cooked faster than their electrical equivalents.
The downside was that many health and safety officers don’t like gas. So many venues we were banned from using it and back to the original problem.
We already had a small 30 amp generator that we used occasionally, but for some of the larger events, this was nowhere near enough.
The Answer, More Power
It was decided that we needed to move up a class in generator systems. We looked at some new builds from a company in Peterborough. We worked out that we needed probably a 30kva set. So we decided to go for a 63kva.
The thinking behind this was that buying what we need did not give us any room for future growth. So 63 gave us some breathing space. Additionally the larger set was only some £800 more expensive, was no bigger physically, and used the same engine so should have similar running costs.
Making It Portable
We acquired a set of axles for it, and asked our friends at Fairtech Fabrications to put a trailer system together for us so that it was road transportable.
They fabricated a simple two axle trailer and mounted the unit for us, giving us flexibility to power anything we are going to run in the next couple of years at least. We could probably do with a mid sized generator system, something in the 25kva range perhaps, but that is for a future project.
Once we had it mounted, we adding some basic branding with our new Crazy & Co. logo, and storage facilities for cable adaptors etc, along with a detachable fire extinguisher, just in case.
Gourmet burgers are one of our main lines nowadays. Despite the campaigns for healthier heating, veganism etc, burgers are still massively popular.
Like most people I have made many a visit to the famous American chains over here, namely McDonalds and Burger King. In fact I am old enough to remember when Wimpy was a massive chain, and truth be told, what I remember of them, their burger was better than either of the USA behemoths.
However there are many other chains or ‘burger joints’ in the US of A. Non at the size of the main two, but some pretty big and expanding. Some of the smaller ones are nowhere near in size, but have massive public followings. We are gonna look at a few of these, their history and menu’s.
Our first contender is the quaintly named In-N-Out Burgers. First launched in the Los Angeles suburb of Baldwin Park California by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948. The original store was tiny, only some 10ft square. Harry would visit the local wholesalers each morning to pick out the freshest ingredients whilst his wife Esther would take care of the administration and bookkeeping.
The beef patties were made by hand fresh every morning, and quality was a watchword for them from the off.
Harry would work in his garage on a night, after long days of cooking burgers. Later in 1948 he put together a two way voice box allowing his customers to order food without even leaving their cars. This focus on drive through was a mainstay of the companies business model. In fact it wasn’t until restaurant No.21 in 1979 that they even had a sit down section to allow guests to consume their food on the premises.
By 1963 they had grown to the extant that they opened their own processing plant for the burgers, up till then Esther had prepared each patty using a hand press.
By the time Harry Snyder died in 1976, at the age of 63, the chain had grown to 18 restaurants.
Harry’s son 24-year-old Rich Snyder took the reins after his fathers death and expanded the chain rapidly, building the chain to 90 stores over the next 20 years.
Sadly in 1993 whilst returning from opening store No. 93 in Fresno, California, Rich died along with four other passengers when the light aircraft he was in crashed due to being caught in the wake turbulence of a larger aircraft that landed in front of them.
His brother Guy took over and aggressively expanded the company to over 140 locations in six years before dying from an overdose of painkillers.
Esther Snyder died in 2006 at the age of 86 whereupon the presidency passed to Mark Taylor, former VP of operations.
They launched their ‘Animal’ burger in 1961, where the beef pattie was fried in a thin layer of mustard, add extra pickles and grilled onions were added.
Their protein burger, dispenses with the bun and wraps the whole lot in lettuce, for a healthier option.
A real unusual one this, think of taking the burger out of the bun and , well and nothing. That’s what you get, two patties, two slices of cheese (well that yellow stuff the Americans claim is cheese), pickles salad and wrap it in a slice of paper. In N Out have many items on their secret menu. Not on display in the restaurants, but viewable on the website.
In n Out Burgers Crossed Palm Trees
The company tend to have a pair of crossed palm trees at the front of each location. This is allegedly in allusion to Harry Snyder’s favourite movie, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World.
In keeping with his Christian beliefs, many In n Out Burgers items such as the drinks cups have bible references printed on them.
Started by three brothers Luigi, Ferruccio and Marcello Bertazzon in 1951. They quickly moved into producing dodgem tracks and go-karts.
By 1963 the company was formally established, as Bertazzon 3B (for 3 brothers).
The company now is a major player in the ride production world, with Carousels, dodgems, dark rides, the Matterhorn, flying chairs and rail rides amongst others.
The company is, to use a modern buzz word, vertically integrated. All this means is that they pretty much produce everything they need in house. Some small stuff such as galvanising is done by outside contractors, but pretty much everything else they design and build themselves.
One thing that Bertazzon do seem to stand out for is the breadth of dodgem cars they produce. Not just a couple of different styles with a range of paint jobs, they have some pretty unique stuff available, and seem open to the idea of building custom cars for clients.
They also produce a ‘drifting’ car, which as the name suggests drifts like a rally car when a button is pressed.
William Hesketh Lever (1851-1925), founder of Unilever and later the first Viscount Leverhulme, once said (allegedly) , “I know that half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. My only problem is that I don’t know which half.” The remark was also attributed to a number of other businessmen, and is widely considered to have never been uttered.
Whatever the truth of the matter, advertising is now a huge industry, prevalent in everyday life. We are all constantly bombarded by adverts for everything from new teeth to milk shakes. I can’t honestly say that seeing an advert makes me want to rush out and partake in the cult of that product, but who knows, it quite likely might have some subliminal effect.
One class of advert that we have all seen, and still do regularly, comes from the burger companies. In the UK we only really have two major players, and the rest tend to be small businesses that don’t have major advertising budgets. Across the pond, there are a number of major chains with restaurants in the hundreds, so there is a much wider range of adverts to look at.
The biggest chain is obviously the home of the golden arches. Being the top of the tree probably gives McDonalds a different perspective on what they need to advertise. Everyone else is throwing pot shots at McD’s but they aren’t trying to topple anyone else. As a result, much of their advertising has been, well, bland. It emphasis how good the food is, or how cheap the food is, and that’s about it. Probably the right thing when you are trying to sell good food cheap, but not exactly edgy or giving us the wow factor.
I tried googling ‘Edgy McDonalds Ads’ and come up with the ad below, visually more exciting, but not what I would call edgy burger advertising.
The perennial number two chain around the world, Burger King has spent much of its advertising dollars trolling McDonalds. It has positioned itself as the cheeky younger brother to the number one chain, and this shows in its adverts. Few of the King’s adverts have really been about the food, they have always had an edgier tone, generally poking fun, occasionally skirting controversy, sometimes even classy.
Burger King spent nearly a year trolling McDonalds without anyone actually realising. Until at the end they released images of their ads taken from a different angle. What this revealed, was that all of the year’s adverts for their whopper, had actually also contained an image of a Big Mac. Only because of the Macs smaller size, you couldn’t actually see it as it was positioned behind the whopper.
McDonalds in a rare display of edginess responded with an ad of their own exclaiming ‘Behind every good burger is a great burger’.
One which polarised opinion was the mouldy whopper ad. Much had been written about the abnormally long life of some McDonalds products, with it being claimed they were so full of preservatives that they don’t actually decay. BK produced a series of ads showing that over time their burgers turned mouldy. Although not mentioning their rivals by name, the inference was obvious, BK’s stuff was naturally free from additives.
Based in the German market, BK announced a range of really weird burgers for mother’s day, these were to satisfy the cravings of pregnant ladies.
With this one BK decided to take a leaf out of Carl Jr’s book and use sex to sell burgers. Or rather suggestiveness. Not sure if you would get away with this one in the current climate!
A brilliant piece of work, this promised you a Whopper for 1 cent, but only if you droe to a McDonalds, then used the app whilst you were in the restaurant to order a Whopper for collection from the nearest BK.
Always up with current affairs, this one was in the middle of the Covid crisis.
One of their classier ads, this one was asking you to order from their rivals. During lockdown, everyone was struggling, and their take on it was ordering from a fast food joint, any joint, would be helping people who needed the money.
The last one pokes fun at their flame grilling of burgers. For the record we all feel here that BK burgers do taste better than their rivals, whether it is down to being flame grilled, who knows.
Carl’s Jr. and Sexy Burger Advertising
In 1941 Carl Karcher and his wife Margaret, borrowed $311 against their Plymouth car, and added $15 in savings to buy a hot dog stand. By 1945 they had opened their first drive in, called Carl’s Drive In Barbecue. 1956 saw their first Carl’s Jr. opening, so called because it was a smaller version of their main drive in.
Carl’s Jr. started with pretty much the same adverts as other chains. Images of juicy looking burgers and prices.
Then in 2005 came a new direction. They decided that sex sells. Or More precisely, scantily clad women writhing and moaning whilst eating burgers sells.
Their first ‘slutburger’ ad as it was infamously christened, saw Paris Hilton, a fancy car, soap and water and a burger.
This was followed by a steady stream of sports illustrated alumni, models and singers. All stunningly attractive, all scantily clad and all eating burgers.
Predictably the ad caused offence. With one commentator claiming it had ‘set back feminism four decades’. On the other hand the ‘All Natural’ ad featuring Charlotte McKinney has garnered some 4.5 BILLION media impressions worldwide, so they are effective.
I must admit the all natural one was bloody weird, the ad boasted that the burger was a “first ever fast food” item made with “no antibiotics, no added hormones, and no steroids.” I mean WTAF, are they doing in a burger in the first place.
Otley Burger Company
I wasn’t really expecting tiny little independant companies to appear in this list. But it seems that the Otley Burger Company of Leeds, takes provocation to new levels. Or more accurately sheer bad taste. They leverage social media to promote their business. A good move for small businesses as it can be leveraged to create massive benefit at little cost.
Their Mother’s day advert however, used shock value that took bad taste to a new level. Advert below!
A&W just happen to be the oldest restaurant chain in America. Founded in 1919 by Roy W. Allen as a roadside drinks stand in Rodi California, they have grown to some 900 stores.
Their single entry into our advertising hall of fame, is the launch of their bigger 1/3 pound burger, playing on the theme of bigger is better. Unfortunately it failed in spectacular fashion. Why? Well evidently your average American doesn’t do fractional maths very well. And by God anyone knows that 4 is bigger than 3 so a 1/4 pounder has to be bigger than a 1/3 pounder don’t it.
A&W are intending making a comeback with a new ad for a 3/9 of a pounder, in the hope that Americans take 9 as bigger than 4.
A relatively modern addition, Grill’d was formed in Australia in 2004 in Melbourne. Growing to some 150 stores, the company aired an add that caused outrage. It was meant to troll McDonalds, by having a creepy clown character. unfortunately having said clown chase two kids down a dark alley then appear to flash them, isn’t really acceptable advertising nowadays. In fact it wasn’t really acceptable advertising in any day.
Wendy’s Where’s The Beef
Founded in 1969 in Ohio, Wendy’s is the third biggest burger chain in the world.
Like most chains Wendy’s has the biggest, bestest, juiciest blah blah blah. Their adverts are pretty cookie cutter with everybody else’s. Except for one classic. The ‘Where’s the beef?’ advert aired in 1984, with the unknown actress Claire Peller, an elderly lady sat with two other friends looking at a tiny beef pattie in a big bun and questioning how much beef there is. This ad skyrocketed Wendy’s profits and became a classic line.
No, not our favourite Rolling Stones song, Jumping Jack Flash. Gas Gas Gas is a reference to the recent news that the government is going to ban the sales of Nitrous Oxide, or laughing gas as it is commonly known. Evidently some people like to breath it in for its psychoactive properties. Whereupon unfortunately it can cause illness, nerve damage and even death.
Now why is that on a blog for a catering company you might well ask. Easy, the substance is also sold in mini cylinders which fit into a whipped cream dispenser and turn fresh cream into squirty cream. We make massive use of it on our hot chocolate, and waffle/crepe services.
The alternative to this is the cans of squirty cream, nasty UHT treated ‘cream’ that is four times the price.
Why are blanket bans imposed that affect the massive majority of people who use the product responsibly, because some minority of cretins find an illegal use for it. How about trying the radical idea of punishing those who sell it for the purpose of sniffing, or those who actually imbibe it illegally, rather than all those who don’t.
It is a similar story with Coca Cola, and other ‘high sugar’ drinks. I don’t drink the stuff very often. But on the rare occasion I fancy a tin, I find myself in the position of having to sell body parts to pay the exorbitant cost. Why so dear I hear you cry. Because there are a large number of irresponsible parents out their who pour gallons of the stuff down their kids throats, resulting in some massively obese kids, oh sorry, my blogs AI inclusive language system is telling me not to use that word, they are now to be referred to as kids with higher body weight. WTAF, instead of playing stupid word games to try and wallpaper over the cracks, why not concentrate on educating parents not to make their kids of higher bodyweight.
Of course putting the price of Coke up with this sugar tax, is going to instantly transform the said parents into health freaks that only dispense wholesome good food to their kids. Of course it bloody isn’t, the same useless parents will just find something else, equally as unhealthy to shut their little darlings up.
We are heading for a similar position with alcohol. Due to some people not being able to control their drinking, there is a clamour for a minimum alcohol unit price. Seriously, you think this will suddenly dry an alcoholicperson with alcohol use disorder out?
I have personal experience of people with drink problems. The cost of the product bears no resemblance to the amount they drink, They will beg, steal, borrow, sell their kids, whatever to buy what they need. The only thing a minimum price will do, is take more money off those people who drink responsibly. Instead of punishing everyone else, why not come up with a scheme that actually helps those people who need it, all that the extra revenue will do is line the pockets of the retailers.