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Krystal: Keeping the South in Mind

By Elisha Neubauer

In the South, two common themes dominate the culture: Southern Hospitality and Good Food. These themes govern the market, leading to an area teeming with well respected eateries that have become the forefront in most activities. This, of course, makes competition steep in the industry. With over eighty years in the business, Krystal has proven it has what it needs to stay in the lead in the Southern restaurant industry.

Despite having roughly the same amount of stores as a large national chain, Krystal is only concentrated in the Southeast of the United States. This location pattern allows Krystal to be fully submerged in the Southern Culture, adding to the charm of the Krystal franchise. Aware of the unique blend of culture present in the American South, Krystal has tailored their operations to suit the needs of their clientele.

"We're only in Southern locales, and so when we think about the folks that we serve, they're our own Southern neighbors," explains Alice Crowder, VP of Marketing for Krystal. "That impacts what we offer our guests and the way we offer it to them. Most importantly, though, it means the people that serve our guests are Southerners, too."

On top of offering only the best in Southern Hospitality, Krystal puts a distinct focus on the foods they serve. While they don't serve ONLY Southern foods, they do serve foods Southerners enjoy the most. Crowder's explanation for this policy shows the thought put into each and every meal choice offered by Krystal: "It's pretty easy- we develop what we like! That doesn't mean that you'd necessarily call all our products exclusively Southern, but they do appeal to our Southern guests."

She gives us a great illustration of this policy by reminding us of the Double Krystal, saying that while it is not what you would consider a classic Southern food, it is favored highly by those in the South.

While Krystal puts a lot of effort into deciding what works best for their Southern customers, it's important to be too Southern. Too much of something can be a bad thing, and there is a fine line between supporting the Southern Culture and just being obnoxious. Krystal seems to have found that line and walks it carefully, giving just the right amount of emphasis on their Southern roots without being too over the top.

"We think of ourselves the way our guests think of us- a great place to get an awesome burger," states Crowder. "When we come up with an idea for a promotion, our filter isn't 'Hey, is this Southern?' It's 'Hey, is this something that would delight our guests? Is this something our restaurants can make in a quality way and recommend with pride?'"

Including their guests into their product launches seems to be a priority for Krystal. The company constantly brings their customer base into their testing facilities to get feedback on any recipe variations. Their online e-club, called Club Krystal, helps provide feedback on everything from product naming and merchandising to logos and benefits.

When it comes to fitting into the Southern Culture, Krystal seems to have it down. After all, you don't make it in the cut-throat restaurant industry for eighty years just by taking it easy. It takes dedication, loyalty, and a drive to give the customers what they really want. With excellent hospitality and one-of-a-kind menu options, Krystal seems to be sticking around in the South.

As Crowder says, "Gosh, I don't know how you could not try a classic Krystal! There's really nothing else like it out there. The steamed bun, the tiny onions and the savory meat- its perfection in just a few bites! Now, I like mine with cheese, but that's up for debate."

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8/13/2015

Moritz Hunt

I love the 24 pack box with extra pickles/mustard!
I live in Ormond Beach, Florida.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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