Friday, May 1, 2009

Reporter's Notebook


Innovation. It is what is going to unlock this economy, not billions of stimulus dollars or “short-term bankruptcies.”

Innovation is the process of taking something new or old, novel or old-school, and changing or adapting it to the market so it has a beneficial value and economic viability for your business. We’re not talking about invention – we have millions of “inventions” every year and only a few become true innovations.

In our midst, we have a locally grown company that has exhibited a full and complete understanding of innovation. From recycling french fry oil to offering health benefits to part-time workers, Burgerville has consistently shown a forward-thinking management style based on innovation.

They are at it again. And this time I, for one, can get a little more fired up about it than I was about the recycling of french fry oil – which I am absolutely in favor of – but I can’t drink recycled oil with my burger.

Yes, today Burgerville has started to sell beer and wine in its Salmon Creek restaurant. Some might say this is not innovation, that restaurants everywhere sell beer and wine. True, but not at fast food restaurants, and burger places in particular. Now on a hot Saturday afternoon, Dad can take the kids to Burgerville and have a cold beer with his burger instead of going to a sit-down restaurant and wait for a table.

Burgerville’s innovation is in taking a known process and applying it in a new setting to expand its revenue stream. The moral of the story here is that we all need to innovate during this flat economy much as Burgerville has. Not by selling beer necessarily, but by creating new revenue streams that compliment our core income-producing products and services.

follow Burgerville’s lead and look for avenues to increase your revenue by offering clients innovative opportunities to do business with you. And I, for one, will be looking forward to a hot Saturday afternoon.

- Steve McDonagh can be contacted at