Too bad cause you can’t have ‘em! That’s right, I read today that Thomas Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza, is beginning his latest venture and this time it’s selling gourmet hamburgers via house delivery (and no, there are no fries on the menu).

In his plan, he envisions:

  • No seating in the restaurant
  • Delivery is free of charge but has a two hamburger minimum
  • There is pick-up but no drive-thru
  • Delivery is only available 1.5 miles from the store enabling them to live up to their promise to be there in ’15 minutes or less’

Based on response from critics and consumers, the notion is not ideal but somehow because Thomas is the man behind it, people are looking forward to this restaurant.

Good idea or good businessman behind a not-so-good one?

One commenter stated ‘burgers don’t travel well’ and I would have to agree. Have you eaten a burger that got off the grill 15 minutes ago? Not quite the same as pizza and not nearly as good cold or leftover.

And consider this. When we think about eating-in or ordering something for delivery, our choice is generally one that appeals to the masses. Pizza caters a crowd and does so well. One pizza is ideal for one, two and sometimes four but does everyone want a hamburger?

And what happens when we consider the various ways in which a hamburger can be cooked and prepared? Well. Medium well. Medium. Medium Rare. And these are ‘gourmet hamburgers’ right? So I would have to assume I have the ability to state my preference. And what about if they get it wrong? A burnt supposedly medium-well burger or a rare supposedly well-done burger? A little harder to mess up pizza or Chinese food.

Now what if Fuddruckers started a delivery service? Or Wendy’s? Or Burger King? Already established for their hamburgers and sides and fast food atmosphere, does it make more sense for these guys to show up on your door in 15 minutes or less?

I remember when McDonald’s had a dine-in experience. You ordered, they gave you a number, you sat down and someone actually brought you your food. And, they gave you popcorn while you waited. It didn’t last long because it wasn’t why people went to McDonald’s. Fact is, Thomas is missing a key point here: perception.

We didn’t want to wait for our food at McDonald’s because we wanted it to be fast. Even though it may have taken the same amount of time, because we sat there waiting for it, it didn’t feel like it. Why did we suddenly have to wait 5 minutes for a $2 burger?

The consumer’s perception of the ‘fast’ hamburger has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘gourmet’ and everything to do with ‘quick, easy, eat it while I am driving’. If anything, Thomas should add this to the Domino’s menu and put alongside complimentary items like pizza, subs and salads. Hamburgers alone I don’t think is going to cut it. Not with this model and certainly not without the fries.

What do you think?