Connections. That’s the secret to the success behind Cheeseburger Bobby’s.
By Michael J. Pallerino
It’s not that the fast casual concept’s made to order gourmet burgers, fresh cut fries, handspun milkshakes and Build Your Own Burger Bar don’t have their merits, because they do — it’s that connecting with what your customers want rules today.
That’s the approach co-founders and brothers Robert “Bobby” and Richard Stoll say is what wins the war of attracting today’s hyper-connected and ever-fickle consumers.
“We are trying to make a connection with each new customer, and from there build a relationship with them based on the experience they are having in the restaurant,” said Robert Stoll, who also serves as president of the Kennesaw-based chain.
Cheeseburger Bobby’s, which has experienced double-digit sales increases over the last six years, recently inked a two-store franchise agreement and area development deal in Cobb. With 10 area locations, the fast casual chain, which opened in 2007, will continue to focus on Georgia, specifically Augusta, Cartersville, Gainesville and Snellville.
It also plans to target the Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida markets. The plan, which is to mix both franchise and corporate-owned locations, calls for 75 locations over the next five years, Stoll said.
“As a growing brand, the biggest thing on our to-do list is more frequently than not securing prime real estate at the right price,” he said.
The other item on its to-do list includes finding what formula works best for its growing customer base, which includes a mix of 65 percent male and 35 percent female guests. Among its growing target audience is Millennials.
“Millennials are the largest growing segment of the population,” said Stoll, who along with his brother developed Stevi B’s pizza in 1996, eventually selling the 28-store chain in 2008. “They are spending more money on eating out and they are putting a social emphasis on the experience of going out with friends — more so than any previous generation. They want quality food that is customizable to their taste buds and dietary restrictions. We want to be the go to place for every Millennial.”
To attract more Millennials, Cheeseburger Bobby’s has unveiled a new redesigned interior, which includes a sleek, modern interior and exterior done mostly in earth tones to help emphasize food freshness. Other new decor features include dark wood, black and stainless steel throughout the restaurant, large, trapezoid community tables with tall, rich wood tone and black metal chairs, and photos depicting juicy burgers on a fiery grill and freshly cut vegetables.
“Today’s fast casual market has become a hybrid of fast food and casual dining,” he said. “The quality of the product is better than at a fast food restaurant and customers are getting a better guest experience. But it is also less expensive than fine dining. Consumers want a better dining experience, better decor, and a more comfortable place to sit and eat with friends and family.”
Stoll said that after years of perfecting its menu, guest service and operations, it was time to roll out a new look that appeals to all generations, especially in Cobb.
“Cobb County is a great place for our concept to grow because it is growing so much itself,” he said. “The quality of life is high, and it’s a great place to raise a family, which is right in line with us. The new Braves stadium is also going to give Cobb a boom in business. We hope to grow with the county and introduce five more restaurants here in the next 24 months.”
A CLOSER LOOK>>Cheeseburger Bobby’s International LLC
1690 Roberts Blvd., Suite 121 Kennesaw
Year Founded: 2007
Phone: (770) 218-9962
Executives: Bob Stoll, Richard Stoll Vice President, Greg Bennet Franchise Development, Greg Tanner, Sue Saltalamacchio, David Kelly
How many units? Where? We have 10 units open with four in development, all in Georgia: Buckhead, Cumming, Canton, Flowery Branch, Hiram, Johns Creek, Marietta, Norcross, Sandy Springs, Woodstock