This Is What Makes BurgerFi Different From Other Burger Chains - Exclusive

You might think that BurgerFi is just another fast-food burger joint. But it's not. First, there's the difference between what's called "fast food" and "fast casual." As BurgerFi's CEO Julio Ramirez told Mashed in an exclusive interview: "Some place like a drive-through chain might get you the food in three minutes, but it's a different type of quality than you're going to get in the five and seven minutes that we take to make our food." Ramirez is justifiably proud of BurgerFi's handcrafted, chef-inspired menu. 

BurgerFi has committed to what it calls a "Never-Ever" program, which sets a standard for using organic, humanely-raised, and free-range beef (via BurgerFi). "[Our beef] is grass-fed, grain-finished ... there's no antibiotics, no steroids, no chemicals," Ramirez said. The chain also has a draw for plant-based lovers. BurgerFi was one of the first fast casual restaurants to offer the plant-based Beyond Burger (via The New York Times). They also created their own trademark VegeFi burger, which features a secret blend of organic vegetables and quinoa. BurgerFi gets much of the produce for the VegeFi from local Florida farms, and it's produced in a world-class commissary near the company's headquarters in North Palm Beach. 

But it's not only the great-tasting food that separates BurgerFi from chains like McDonald's or Burger King (where Ramirez worked in upper-level management for 26 years).

BurgerFi creates a different atmosphere

Another reason BurgerFi stands out is that its menu is "niche," as Ramirez calls it. "We also don't have 2,000 products, and we really take our time selecting the very best high-quality products." Ramirez also points to BurgerFi's friendly hospitality, the ambiance, and the fresh, modern decor as something that sets it apart. According to Ramirez, many fast food chains have remodeled several times and still don't look as good as BurgerFi. BurgerFi has been around for 10 years, but the image of its restaurants is brand new. 

"I like to say, you can take a date to a BurgerFi," Ramirez told Mashed. "... And you're not going to disappoint. You wouldn't necessarily take a date to McDonald's ... it's just a different experience." BurgerFi also serves craft beers and wine, and you can enjoy upbeat music while eating great food. 

Even if you're not dining in, BurgerFi wants to reshape the burger experience. The pandemic forced BurgerFi to pivot the business to takeout and delivery service, and online orders skyrocketed, accounting for more than 40 percent of all business. Last year, BurgerFi refitted an existing drive-through in Kentucky, and its success was in large part due to Ramirez and his team adapting the original BurgerFi experience to an upscale drive-through experience. "If you're giving great handcrafted quality food," Ramirez said, "People will wait a couple more minutes."

And then there's those BurgerFi onion rings

Even new BurgerFi Board of Directors member Martha Stewart can't get enough of BurgerFi's onion rings. As she posted on Instagram: "[They're] the best, biggest, and crispiest onion rings anywhere." So what's the secret behind these notable rings? Ramirez revealed to Mashed that BurgerFi doesn't use pre-made, packaged onion rings in a bag like other fast food places. 

Instead, they use colossal Spanish onions about the size of a softball. The ends of the onions are chopped off and grilled for people who order them on their burgers. Then, BurgerFi removes the rings from the onion cylinder, and they're breaded with a proprietary blend of special flour and spices. (Ramirez couldn't share the secret recipe.) Finally, just before serving, the bracelet-sized onion rings are beer-battered and deep-fried. "They're amazing," he said. "I've turned a lot of people on to those things." 

To learn more about BurgerFi and discover locations near you, visit their website. Follow along with what they're up to on their Instagram or Facebook pages.