Close
 

How one hamburger joint puts the queue back in Queenstown

  • Opinion
  • March 30, 2016
  • Vaughn Davis
How one hamburger joint puts the queue back in Queenstown
Illustration: Wade Wu

Not having a Fergburger, regular visitors to the South Island’s equivalent of Richard Scarry’s Busytown will know, is somewhat odd behaviour. Having a Fergburger, or, more accurately, spending 59 minutes queueing for a Fergburger then five minutes eating it, is right at the top of the list of What You Do in Queenstown. 

Call me curmudgeonly (if Hamish Keith can do without the epithet for a moment), but if I’m only spending 48 hours in Queenstown, I’m not going to spend one of them waiting for my dinner.

Plenty of people, however, are. Fergburger’s fame is worldwide and at almost any hour of the day or night (Google helpfully suggests trying before 9am or after 2am for slightly shorter wait times) you’ll see the, mostly-foreign, hopeful and hungry mooching about its one Shotover Street outlet.

Meanwhile, two streets over, things are a little less frantic. At nearby Devilburger (tell them I sent you!) you can buy burgers that are just as big, just as tasty, just as quirkily named and cost almost exactly the same, only there’s hardly ever a queue. Devilburger has an 86% positive rating on Tripadvisor, plenty of seating, an open fire for winter, and a chip portion policy that suggests they’re in league with Big Potato.

But no queues.

So what’s with Fergburger’s success? And why are its mostly-excellent competitors left so far in its wake? 

Quality food is just part of it. According to Tripadvisor, there are 18 better places to eat in Queenstown. 18! [And now 19! - Ed] Location counts for something – Shotover Street is the main drag. But Queenstown is tiny, and in the time it takes to wait for a Fergburger you could walk from one end to the other half a dozen times.  

What Fergburger has that the competition doesn’t is a story, and a story that plays especially well to overseas visitors. A burger joint in a small town at the bottom of the world so good that people queue for an HOUR to get one! Can you believe that? They even provide sunscreen to stop you getting burnt while you’re waiting (coming soon: a cart selling burgers to eat while you’re waiting for your burger). And there’s only one. You can’t buy these burgers in Manhattan, Camden or Bondi – only Queenstown. But thanks to Lonely Planet, Tripadvisor, Yelp and countless travellers’ Facebook pages and Instagram accounts you can read about them there, and drool over the photos wherever you are.

What Fergburger has also done is turned a negative into a selling point. To quote The Otago Daily Times: “Queuing for a Fergburger is a ''must-do'' for many visitors to Queenstown.” That’s “queueing” for one, not “eating” one. It’s not the only downside. Fergburgers are expensive, and while Queenstown is mildly hard to get to for a New Zealander, it’s insanely distant for a New Yorker, making the story even more impressive to your friends back home. 

What can a business unlucky enough not to be Fergburger learn from all this? Don’t stop at the ingredients that go into your food (or your equivalent) – any rooster can match that. What matters even more is delivering your customers the ingredients that make up a great story.  

Oh, and if you do want to give Fergburger a try without the wait, here’s the trick (thank me later): just ring up, place your order, turn up when they tell you and you’re off home with a bag full of greasy goodness and none of the waiting – but nowhere near as good a story.

This column was originally published on Idealog.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Read it again: Best of The Register’s retail fit-out stories

  • News
  • January 20, 2020
  • The Register team
Read it again: Best of The Register’s retail fit-out stories

While you’re working through the summer break, we’re providing some reading material from our archives to keep you busy. This time, we’re looking at top fit-outs and premises.

Read more
 
 

2020 vision: Tairāwhiti Gisborne in retail

  • News
  • January 16, 2020
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
2020 vision: Tairāwhiti Gisborne in retail

We're looking at seven regional centres as part of a series considering how regional retailers will perform in 2020. In part five of the series, it's time to examine Tairāwhiti Gisborne.

Read more
 
 

2020 vision: Retailing in Napier and Hastings today

  • News
  • January 15, 2020
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
2020 vision: Retailing in Napier and Hastings today

Part four of our series on regional retailers brings us to Napier and Hastings. We profile several local retailers to get an idea of their towns' struggles and successes.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
2020 vision
What does the next decade have in store ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Read it again: Best of The Register’s staff management stories

  • News
  • January 13, 2020
  • The Register team
 Read it again: Best of The Register’s staff management stories

So, you’re working through the Christmas break. We understand. We’re sharing The Register’s top stories to keep you company – today, you’ll find a selection of advice-filled articles on managing staff.

Read more
 
 

2020 vision: What's in store for Palmerston North

  • News
  • January 9, 2020
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
2020 vision: What's in store for Palmerston North

We're looking at seven regional centres as part of a series considering how regional retailers will perform in 2020. Today, it's Palmerston North's turn.

Read more
 

2020 vision: The outlook for Timaru and Ōamaru

  • News
  • January 7, 2020
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
2020 vision: The outlook for Timaru and Ōamaru

In part two of a series looking at what the next decade have in store for regional retailers, we profile some retailers in Timaru and Ōamaru.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}