Today’s Lisbon may be lacking in good-paying jobs, affordable apartments, and proper martinis, but we have plenty of expensive hamburgers. But we will not be satisfied until there’s a hamburgueria on every corner of Lisbon. Here are some free tips to launch the next award-winning ground beef joint:
Start with a “Great Idea”
No one wants to eat a regular old burger anymore or they’d go to McDonald’s, so you’ll have to come up with an ingenious name for your restaurant, a unique way to market it, and something extra creative to ensure your burgers go viral — on social media, that is, not by poisoning your customers, although, hey, only no publicity is bad publicity.
Naming Your Hamburgueria
The name is essential, of course. It’s important that it embodies the origins and traditions of burger culture but also tells potential clients that you’re aligned with their sensibilities and values. Some ideas:
– Between Your Buns
– Poetry Burguer
– B.urger (punctuation is very “in” right now, so you could have different variations of this)
– Be the Burguer
– !@#$ the Burger
– Municher (get it? Hamburg-er, but Munich? They will!)
– Antique Burger
– Vintage Burger
– Upcycled Burger
You probably noticed some very creative marketing campaigns across town sure to entice passersby to come in, such as “Prove Our Burgers!” Promotion is everything, people. Pick one or more of these and spend as much money as you can on the font that’s as exceptional as you are:
– Feeling Blood-Thirsty? Eat Our Burgers!
– We Have Very Best Hamburges (correct grammar and spelling are for old people, who have no money)
– Our Cows Get Vichy Massages Before Slaughter
– You’re In Portugal, Why Would You Eat Anything But a Burger?
– The Most Authentic Frozen Burgers in Town
– Handmade Artisanal All-Bio Beef Burgers Imported from Argentina On Sailboats
– Our Burgers Are Made by Children Who Have Never Tasted Beef
– The Only Burger You’ll Need to Get Laid Tonight
– Traditional All-Beef Punjabi Hamburgers
– Hand-Crafted Meat- and Vegetable-Free Burgers
– We Wash Hands
– Get a Free Shot with Every Two Burgers
– Stag Parties Welcome! Bring Your Meat, Boys!
– All of Our Burgers Have Extra Gluten
– None of Our Burgers Have Gluten
– We Serve Ketchup in Glass Bottles!
Once you’ve lured in your prey, uhm, customers, you’ll have to deliver. Think carefully about the decor and ambiance of your venue, your staff, and the presentation of the burger itself.
As you’ve most certainly noticed, if you don’t upcycle, you lose. There’s a shortage of used palettes now, but thanks to Lisbon’s construction boom you can easily find large pieces of lead-paint-covered drywall. Use those to construct the tables and save on chairs by making your customers sit on old toilets.
Don’t forget the fine art: nothing says exclusivity like an enlarged photo of Belém Tower or Lisbon’s calçadas, all of which you can get completely free on the internet. Don’t worry if your photos are too pixillated, your customers won’t notice as long as you get some of those vintage-looking Edison-style lightbulbs.
And pay extra-special attention to the WCs. Make your clients feel like your bathroom is better than their bathroom, which you can achieve elegantly with something constantly burning inside to make “aromas,” a few antique faucets (they don’t actually have to work), and of course motion-activated lights, hand-dryers, and, for an extra touch, motion-activated toilet paper dispensers. Also, your toilet paper should be unique.
Finally, you’ll have to round off the sensory bath you’re about to dump your customer into with some music. This one’s a no-brainer: Muzak. Hire a mediocre band and make them record some famous tunes (it doesn’t matter which), then pay them with burgers, because musicians here don’t earn crap anyway.
It’s not important how you make the burger, but it is important what you call it. There should be plenty of variety. Name your burgers after Donald Trump’s executive orders or the Seven Dwarfs. When in doubt, longer is better, so don’t say “Burger with Lettuce and Tomato,” say “Freshly Ground Alentejano-Style Beef Burger with Farm-to-Table Crispy Romaine and Italian Tigerella.” Better yet, don’t call them burgers at all, call them Songs.
We find that using props is conducive to letting your clients know they’re special, but not as special as your burgers. Why not serve your burgers with a rusty machete? Tomahawks will work even better, because they’re Native American, which is where burgers first got their start, on Thanksgiving. You could also serve your burgers in something that will remind them of the olden days. Newspapers and old shoe boxes both evoke a certain saudade for that ’50s America, as do old running shoes.
Don’t forget the glassware. Jars are so 2016, so why not go for those religious candle-holders or old plastic yogurt containers. Oh, and how you deliver the bill is the last impression your clients will have of your hamburgueria, so make sure they remember it. Skip the boring old wooden boxes or tin cans. Bring the check on a car tire!
Everyone working at your fine establishment should have mustaches and suspenders, especially the women. It’s ok if they don’t speak Portuguese; in fact, it’s even better if they don’t, it means they’ll have a hard time quitting their job to do something more “meaningful” with their lives. Give your staff proper instruction, with corporal punishment, if necessary, on how to avoid eye contact with the customers.
Some More Ideas to Make You Stand Out
Your customer is likely very hungry, so why not let them start snacking immediately by having the ground beef already on the table and instead using the menu to offer them a choice of frying pans. Once a week, you could host a cow-dissecting party where your regular clients can really get into it — also, that’s free labor, but you could call it crowdsourcing. Celebrities=Facebook Likes, so invite at least one rapper and one fadista every month and hire good-looking people to surround them and look like they’re having fun in photo-ops for your Instagram feed. Save on the photographer by having your 10-year-old niece shoot everything with her iPhone. Also, always spend at least twice as much money on public relations as you do on beef, rent, staff salaries, and heating combined.
Let us know how it goes. The world is your burger.
Note: Here’s where Atlas goes for burgers. We even eat them without buns, like the Portuguese used to.