If you visit Queenstown, the self-proclaimed Outdoor Adventure Capital of New Zealand’s South Island, it won’t be long before a local or fellow visitor suggests that you eat at Fergburger.
The person recommending the establishment will likely include the fact that Fergburger claims to serve the world’s finest hamburger, and the recommender will likely submit his or her opinion as to whether or not the claim is true: “yes they do,” or “no they do not” actually serve the world’s finest hamburger. In my experience, there is no correlation between the likelihood of the dinner recommendation and the recommender’s personal opinion of the quality of the burger; lovers and haters will both point you in the right direction to try it for yourself.
Queenstown attracts 1.9 million visitors per year for skiing, biking and hiking in the mountains surrounding a giant, beautiful lake. That’s not bad for a city of 16,000 people. And most of the visitors seem to visit Fergburger. Needless to say, the city and the burger place do very well for themselves.
So how do the owners of Fergburger do such a fantastic job? I don’t know them, so this is speculation, but here are a few observations from my own visit:
1. Location. Fergburger is in a fabulous location in a fabulous town. And why not? If I were to start a burger joint, (or berry farm, or brew pub or equestrian center), shouldn’t I put it where the people are? With 1.9 million tourists, its likely Fergburger would get some guests by pure chance. And they increased the odds by setting up shop at the bottom of the gondola leading to Ben Lomond, Queenstown’s most significant hiking, skiing and biking trail.
2. Basics. Fergburger has a great staff, great ingredients and a classy interior. They get you in and out in a hurry. The restrooms are clean and the cook is smiling. No failures on the basics inhibit the experience.
3. Focus. The moment Fergburger claims to have the world’s finest burger, something happens. Hint: This is often what makes the difference between a good company and an extraordinary one. Suddenly the staff has a focus. The guests have a reason to visit. The owners know where to invest. “Do we spend money experimenting with new salads, or displaying modern art on the walls? NO! We make the world’s finest burger!” And the only purpose of the restaurant is to connect the world with that magnificent fact.
Now for the burning question: Does Fergburger actually serve the finest burger in the world? That is a very personal matter, really. In this humble farmer’s opinion, after scaling Ben Lomond to 5,300 ft. and landing back down at Ferg’s front door, the answer was definitely yes.