Burger 25 shares the recipe for success with Uber Eats
October 26, 2023 | United States
Steve Vetter, the fearless founder of Burger 25 dishes on how they’re partnering with Uber Eats to grow their burger empire in New Jersey.
The path to a burger empire was not a straight line for Steve Vetter. But—along with his wife and business partner, Denise Vetter—he is now the proud owner and operator of Burger 25, the deluxe New Jersey outfit that, in the past ten years, has become a multi-location sensation.
Celebrating the restaurant’s ten-year anniversary in 2023, the Vetters have harnessed ambition, ingenuity, technology—and the best-tasting ingredients—to create a juicy burger brand that’s as relevant as it is delicious.
increase in basket size
return on Ad spend
YOY increase in Uber Eats orders
A burger business is born
“I was running a successful mortgage business when I started to lose my hearing,” Steve explains about the genesis of Burger 25. “I was struggling to understand my mortgage customers on the phone and realized this was eventually going to affect my livelihood. Looking ahead, I simply had to protect my family’s income.”
“We didn't have a ton of money, but we knew we wanted to operate our own business. We’re both entrepreneurs, and I’ve always loved the hustle of the food industry—so I started looking for an ice cream parlor I could take over. But that dream got killed when I found Burger 25”.
“The price was right. But Denise hung up when I first ran it by her. She's like, ‘Are you kidding me?! We're not doing a restaurant. No way.’”
But the couple swung by for dinner that night, and quickly confirmed that “everything about the business at that point was sub-par. The rolls were stale. The meat was dry. The ketchup was generic. Denise was relieved and basically said ‘Can we go home now?’ But I was like, no, no. It’s perfect! We simply have to do this. I knew exactly what to fix. And 30 days later we closed on it, rolled up our sleeves and started revamping—everything.”
Building a killer brand
“Today, every burger is made fresh—never frozen—from premium beef, and the flavor simply outshines the competition.” says Steve. With dozens of deluxe options—including bison, veggie, lettuce wraps, Tex-Mex and reef’n’beef—there’s a burger for every taste, along with party boxes, sides, salads, and even a doggie menu.
With Denise running the day-to-day operations, Steve handles back-office and marketing. The learning curve was steep for both of them, but the restaurant kept growing exponentially with each passing year.
“We relocated to a bigger space in Toms River in 2020—just before Covid—so the timing was tricky. But we added an 88-person outdoor seating area and a walk-up window, and were busier than ever in no time.” The second Burger 25 location opened on Long Beach Island in June 2023, and a third is scheduled to open in Brick, New Jersey in early 2024.
Working with Uber Eats to grow faster
Uber Eats has been an important enabler of their growth. “There are people who focus on the cost of commission, but I see Uber Eats as the ultimate opportunity to connect with more customers and widen our reach.” says Steve who believes if he’s not on the Uber Eats platform, “people are going to order from somewhere else.”
With a nine-fold return on every ad dollar he spends on Uber Eats ads & offers, online sales at Burger 25 have grown by 172% in the past year. Their customer base has expanded as well, by more than 140%. It’s a partnership Steve values both for the volume of business he sees and for the personal touch he gets from his Uber Eats account manager Caroline.
“Every month I get a call from Caroline, our Uber Eats account manager. She goes through the analytics, and provides constant support to grow the business, including access to special promotions on the app. No other delivery platform offered me that level of service.”
“There are people who focus on the cost of commission, but I see Uber Eats as the ultimate opportunity to connect with more customers and widen our reach.”
Steve Vetter, Owner Burger 25
Online marketing that pays for itself
“Advertising is hugely important,” Steve says. “Our marketing strategy is essentially to make people hungry.” He tracks key metrics on all his Uber Eats campaigns to ensure the business stays in growth mode, and saw a $9 return for every dollar spent with Uber Ads & Offers in the first half of 2023.
Seeing hard data is best, but Steve believes not all marketing can be measured with data. “We have this unique vibe at Burger 25. For example, we’ve been collaborating with a local surfer brand on our staff uniforms that are so cool, we actually sell a ton of them in-store.”
“Plus, everybody on staff wears Nike Dunks—in my opinion, the coolest shoe out there—only they each get to pick the style they want. We have up to 10 cashiers working at a time—and they’re all wearing Dunks. And if they see you’re wearing a pair, too, you get a discount. We recently spent $6,000 on shoes for the new store. I can't tell you for sure it makes us money, but I believe building a culture that draws in customers and staff can really pay off.”
Integrated systems improve efficiency
At the flagship location, Burger 25’s Point of sale system (POS) is completely integrated with Uber Eats, “so all delivery orders—including those from our Burger25 website—go directly to our Toast POS and are then delivered with Uber.”
Steve leverages Uber Eats Manager to help increase customer loyalty. “Uber Eats has an auto-reply feature where the system can generate a tailored response to every single review you receive on the Uber Eats app. It allows Burger 25 to seamlessly acknowledge reviews in real-time, leaving them more time to evaluate and respond to any actionable feedback that can help them improve the customer experience.
Technology that takes you further
“Technology can be an important enabler if you choose it wisely and manage it effectively” says Steve. About five years into owning Burger 25, Steve completely lost his hearing. “I just woke up one day and couldn’t hear anything.” He is now fitted with a high-tech cochlear implant that thankfully allows him to “hear” more than he ever expected he would.
“I give talks to high school and college students. And I tell them there's no way to write a plan for your life. It's gonna lead you in a million different directions. And sometimes you trip or get punched in the face. But it's how you handle that stuff that makes the difference. If I hadn’t lost my hearing, Burger 25 never would have happened. You just have to look for the opportunity wherever you are.”
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