Yesterday, I decided to stop for some food after work and while driving through Escondido, I decided to stop at the Farmer Boys Restaurant on Valley Parkway. Farmer Boys is a chain of restaurants throughout Southern California although they have next to no presence at all in San Diego County. They have 2 stores in Escondido, but are mostly located in Riverside and San Bernadino counties. (They even have 2 locations in Las Vegas.)
The restaurants are pretty cool as a kind of hybrid fast food/sit down restaurant. You place your order at the counter like a fast food place and if you’re dining in, they give you a number and serve your order to your table on real plates with real flatware, not the disposable paper products of traditional fast food places. The place has a more rural appeal in terms of appearance and fits in with a country style home feeling, and is really quite a pleasant environment to dine in. And the service is quite friendly too.
Farmer Boys has the tagline “World’s Greatest Hamburgers” and while many places make that claim or something very similar, usually it’s just over inflated hype. Would I consider the burgers at Farmer Boys to be the World’s Greatest, no, not by a long shot. But what I would say is that they’re definitely on par or slightly above the average sit down restaurant. And while the tagline really focuses on burgers, they really do offer quite a selection of different things, burgers are just a small portion of the menu. They do offer a rather large breakfast menu, so they have a greater bit of variety than you’d expect for a place claiming to be a “burger” joint.
Even though it was still traditional breakfast hours, it was the end of my work day and I’m simply not in the mood for breakfast foods, so I opted to go for one of their burgers and picked the bacon cheeseburger combo. I asked for it to be made without the bun and was fully expecting to get it just plain on a plate. When it arrived, they had actually gone to the trouble of lettuce wrapping it for me and asked if that was okay when they delivered it, and truly, that was better than I asked for and really was a nice touch. I was just looking to have the hamburger patty like a steak and they surprised me with going the extra step of making a lettuce wrapped burger.
I snapped a quick picture of the burger, and decided to post about my “breakfast of champions” on Twitter before enjoying the burger. And a short while later I received a response from Farmer Boys who I didn’t even know were on Twitter. They thought my low-carb burger wrap was cool from the photo. I wasn’t expecting to be contacted from posting a picture and my location. But it just made the burger feel more special than it might otherwise have been.
I really like how companies are starting to get more involved in Social Networking media because it gives them an opportunity to communicate with their customers. While I was commenting a positive thing, I suppose it does give companies the opportunity to address complaints from people posting not so nice things to say quickly and who knows maybe turn the experience around. It certainly helps the “head office” locations in the loop about what their branch locations are doing with their customers, so it’s commendable that Farmer Boys has got someone to keep their finger on the pulse of what people are saying about them.
From my experience with Farmer Boys contacting me on Twitter after my post turned that visit to their restaurant into a event I would write about here on my blog, where had they have not contacted me, I would have been quite content to just report the burger on Twitter and pretty much forgotten about it by the time of my next meal. And I’m certainly going to keep them in mind more than I ordinarily would have the next time I’m looking for food in Escondido.