Charlie's Hamburgers, Folsom, PA


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No-Bull Burger Purist, born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Habit Burger 2nd Trip - Not nearly as good as the first...

The Habit Burger Grill, 3101 Promenade Blvd, Fair Lawn, NJ

The Santa Barbara Style

Approximately 4 oz. burger, mayonnaise, pickle, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions, avocado and American cheese on a toasted sourdough bread.

My second trip back to Habit Burger was purely coincidental. My wife and I were shopping in Paramus when time got away from us and we realized we were starving…so off to Habit we went. Note: It's a very rare occasion for my wife to accompany me to any burger joint.

Here was my comment from the first time I tried Habit:

"If the food quality and the pricing remain, The Habit folks will continue to do very good things in Fair Lawn New Jersey."

Well, at least the prices are the same... 

As for the burgers, they were gray and rubbery with little flavor. What happened to that nicely seasoned burger? Very disappointing. And no "char" was within 1,000 miles. The kicker for me was being served a single burger when I ordered the Santa Barbara Style with a Double Char burger. WTF Habit?

The overall taste was just okay, but definitely not enough to get me to go back there unless the same "starving and close by" circumstances were to arise again (and after I gave them such a nice review the first time – but hey, that was an entirely different burger experience than this one).

Consistency: THE most important aspect of food service. And it's the strongest argument for dining at fast food restaurants that I can think of.

Consistency: The one thing that is lacking in just about every Mom and Pop deli, restaurant, tavern, inn, bar, pub or franchise of any type.
99.9% of the time you are at the mercy of whoever is cooking on any particular night. Your food quality is subject to the staff's state of mind and their individual mood.

Consistency: When your customers can sit down with confidence in knowing his/her meal will be exactly what they expect instead of worrying from the minute they've ordered until they are served.

Even though I'm never a snob when it comes to fast food restaurants, my mention of McDonald's in the succeeding paragraphs is, of course, merely for the sake of highlighting the importance of consistency.
When you can count on the food quality at a local Mom and Pop restaurant, it means they have their processes and execution down pat. Prepping, cooking and presentation are all done with military accuracy so you can expect that same delicious dish you've had before. I believe this is the point at which the Mom and Pop establishment can successfully expand and/or franchise – as long as they maintain strong management.

Like them or not, fast food restaurants perfected the art of serving the same menu offerings consistently throughout all of their locations. Whether you are on a business trip in San Diego, Virginia, Canada or Italy, you can step into a McDonald's and know exactly what you are getting. Your Big Mac will taste the same as it does in the McDonald's 4,000 miles in any other direction and it's all because their processes and execution are perfected.

Yet burger places such as The Habit Burger Grill, which are becoming a-dime-a-dozen in this crazy overflowing burger market, will never hit the high notes their rivals can if they can't correct issues of consistency. I'm wondering how and why a business would try to expand if their processes are not yet perfected. But in fairness, I believe this location’s lack of consistency is most likely due to poor management.  Either way, whether it’s organic, grass fed, non-GMO or whatever, I don't care what the offerings are, if I have to worry about my food being prepared correctly and served as I ordered, you can count me out.

This burger gets a 6 on the BC rating scale. 

I have no reason to return any time soon.