A Brand Impersonator

 Images All Logo In N OutLike most other western states, it seems like Utah is also one of the distant 10-hour suburbs of Southern California. Despite all the transplants from Southern Cal, we still don’t have have our own In-N-Out Burger. And it’s not that there isn’t demand for it. Tonight I took the family to a new burger joint called Chadder’s. In short, it is an In-N-Out impersonator, all the way down to the red and yellow colors.

The place was hoping busy. The buzz in the air was it was “just like” In-N-Out. The menu was simple. The fries were fresh cut and made on the premises today. You could see all the BYU students from California who’d made the trip.

This got me thinking about branding. Was it an In-N-Out brand experience? No. The So-Cal casual feel wasn’t there–and since we we were in American Fork, Utah, that may be expected. The service was slower. The air was greasy. The burger was over cooked and not quite there. The minimalist decor was not as convenient and organized for the customers. And there wasn’t a local-design-flare T-shirt.

Can this business survive? It’s likely the Chadder’s can live off the hard work and brand building done by In-N-Out, at least in the short run. But as I told my son on the way out, I doubt people would visit the store if a “real” In-N-Out was across the street (or even in the same town). Every business needs to be built on their own brand and incorporate experiences that give the brand strength to stand on its own in the face of market change, competition, price wars, and even impersonators.


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