How Monty's Good Burger Built Its Success With Unlikely Ingredients

As anyone growing a business would know, word-of-mouth marketing goes a long way. Sure, you can invest in big-budget commercials and highway billboards, but there's nothing that lends credibility to the quality of a good or service like the approval of trusted peers. 

Then there are the unsponsored endorsements of celebrities, a sure-fire way to skyrocket a company's popularity to stardom. As the trends of the 21st century have shown, social media takes the effectiveness of word-of-mouth, or unpaid marketing, even further. After all, if it isn't money that motivates a celebrity or influencer to promote a product to their following, then it's probably genuine love, right? Furthermore, by associating a company with a person perceived as "cool," that company subsequently gets those "cool" points too — for instance, the 2010s comeback of the Champion brand that was almost completely carried by celebrities (via Better Marketing).

These same strategic "anti-marketing" tactics can also be credited for the rise to success of Monty's Good Burger, a vegan restaurant chain in Southern California, reports The New York Times.

Building not just a burger, but a brand

Founded in 2018, Monty's Good Burger prides itself on offering all the vibes of a traditional burger joint while serving a completely plant-based menu. According to the company website, some of its top goals are to "give hamburger enthusiasts an ethical and legitimate alternative" to beef and "promote sustainable plant-based eating."

Innovation and interest in plant-based foods has never been stronger, with their sales growing at twice the rate of overall food sales in 2018 (via Good Food Institute). Still, creating an animal-free burger experience that not only sets itself apart from other businesses hopping on this growing trend, but also hits all the same notes as its traditional counterpart, is a big ask. This is why, instead of guaranteeing delicious burgers and shakes solely through its own advertising, Monty's also has its customers do the marketing.

Every day, Monty's patrons share photos of mouthwatering burgers, fries, and shakes, as well as the retro atmosphere offered by the chain. Among these patrons, per The New York Times, are both mainstream and internet celebrities like Joaquin Phoenix, Travis Barker, Billie Eilish, and Emma Chamberlain, who have all publicly supported Monty's. While some of this support has led to official partnerships, like Travis Barker creating a custom shake with his name in the title, it all starts from sheer love for the Monty's brand.

Monty's serves burgers with a side of social responsibility

Another way Monty's has set itself apart from its animal-based and plant-based competitors is by not only talking the sustainability and animal rights talk, but walking the walk as well. On its website, the brand assures consumers that it locally (within a 30-mile range) sources organic ingredients as much as possible, only uses compostable serving items, and provides all employees with a livable wage and safe work environment. Moreover, in honor of the owners' adopted pet dog and company namesake, Monty's partners with L.A. Animal Services to host a cat and dog adoption drive every month. Presumably, the values that Monty's puts into practice make customers feel good about choosing the chain for their dining needs. Gen Z consumers, especially, tend to give their money to the brands they feel are in alignment with their values, according to a 2019 First Insight report.

Through a trifecta of its anti-marketing framework, responsible company mission, and food that earns roughly 4.5-star Google reviews across its five locations, Monty's Good Burger has paved a unique path to success and earned its spot in the hearts of Angelenos.