Business Profile: Grassburger

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Why did you choose ABQ for the expansion of Grassburger?

There are too many reasons! We LOVE this town! It is interesting, growing, beautiful and culturally dynamic. There is an established foodie and fitness movement here and a focus on fresh and healthy foods. Plus it’s very family-centric— which Grassburger is all about!

Why grass-fed beef?

Over 15 years ago, I really started focusing on the foods my family was eating. I was always interested in nutrition, but then became more so when our first son was born. He had very severe allergies and health issues. We started to eat foods that were as clean and natural as possible. His health gradually became better and our family became much wiser.

100 percent grass-fed beef is a gift to your body. It’s delicious, lower in calories and higher in important, nutritive elements like vitamin A and E, CLAs and other amino acids, good omegas (3/6), etc.! The grass-fed beef we serve is raised on a humane certified family-owned ranch that practices sustainable grass and pasture management. The animals live a healthy, normal, contented life as nature intended. (The matriarch of the ranch, Patricia Whisant, is the past President of the American Grassfed Association and their multi-generational ranch has been raising grass-fed cattle for over 25 years.)

Do you only focus on beef?

Absolutely not! We offer vegan black bean/quinoa burgers that are made fresh in-house. Our farm salad is sourced from local New Mexico producers—both the greens as well as the varietal veggies on top. We also offer taco plates, cheesy melts, natural chicken hot dogs and Boylan’s 100 percent cane sugar soda to wash it all down!

What’s the idea behind the Kiddie Coral?

This is my favorite area of the store! It’s important to have a place for kids! Instead of waiting at their table (or getting sucked into the “electronic” black hole … ) they can go to the Kiddie Coral and draw on the chalkboard, or play with the dinosaurs or trucks, do a puzzle, etc. This is what I was looking for in a restaurant when my kids were younger!

What about people with allergies or who don’t eat gluten?

We are very accommodating to allergies. We are peanut-free and nut-free. We offer rice dream/coconut milk non-dairy shakes, Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free buns and our fryers are dedicated gluten-free so the French fries and sweet potato fries are GF. While the store is not GF entirely, we have a specific process in place if someone let’s us know when they order. We’ve personally experienced a lot of challenges going out to eat as a family with allergies, so we aspire to be as friendly and accommodating as possible!

What is Grassburger’s biggest challenge?

One of our challenges is educating the customer about the value of 100 percent grass-fed beef. Our culture is so engrained in massive portions—we have taken a conscious stand to serve appropriate portions. Plus, when you serve food that is more nutrient dense, your body doesn’t need to eat so much of it! We serve a 4oz (1/4lb) single and an 8oz (1/2lb) double. The beef itself is a nutritional powerhouse, meaning less is more. The USDA recommends 4-5oz of protein per day for an average person. A big part of eating healthy starts with appropriate portions.

How would you define your position within the marketplace?

We are not aware of anyone in the market who serves 100 percent grass-fed beef at our price point. We have seen grass-raised/grain finished, natural or organic, some say antibiotic free, etc., but not 100 percent grass-fed beef.

On the cost side, 100 percent grass-fed beef is an artisanal, gourmet product. It is very, very costly to buy. Our pricing is extremely reasonable as we have deliberately kept our margins slim in this area. A key part of our mission is to show consumers that you can eat better food at an affordable price. Our menu is priced so for $8-$10 dollars you can have an entire meal. We also offer combo pricing and children’s meals to make it even more affordable for families … with three growing teenage boys, we know how expensive dining out can be!!

What is your company’s greatest asset?

Oh, it’s the people for certain—our staff and our customers! Our employees are the coolest bunch: hard-working, interesting and each of them has a great story! This is a people business and my best days are spent on the floor working with our team and meeting customers. They always have great things to share and each conversation has helped shape Grassburger in some way, whether they know it or not!

What contributions to the community are you most proud of?

We are very interested in supporting local and regional farmers. We currently buy our farm salad greens and most toppings from a New Mexico farm. It gets challenging in the winter months, but we are working on finding sourcing. We also get our green chiles from New Mexico. Our potatoes are either grown in New Mexico or Colorado.

In the last four months, we have been able to support some local charities and schools, specifically Roadrunner Food Bank and The Joy House. Giving back is part of our mission and we are very community oriented, in particular around health and fitness-oriented activities and the welfare of children and animals. As we grow as a business, we will be able to grow in this area simultaneously.

How has the internet affected your business?

The biggest thing is the ability offer online ordering! What a gift—our customers can place an order through our app, Facebook or the website! The online social media piece is a one portal we intend to really explore and expand this year—it’s exciting!

What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?

I want to change the world, of course! Well, at least how people eat! Our mission is to create a demand for beef that is raised right … on 100 percent grass! This will benefit people, the animals and planet! To be able to offer food that is local and regional, that offers optimal nutrition, but in a casual restaurant model that makes better food more affordable! To have something satisfying and healthy for all: vegans, paleo, people with allergies, celiac, etc.!



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