Making burgers, building hype: how did Almost Famous do it?

A few of us Computerlovers went along to the recent NoteToSelf Creative Consortium event, which was themed around ‘hype’.

This got us thinking about what builds hype…

One of the first things that sprang to my mind was Almost Famous. For those who don’t know what Almost Famous is (and it seems you’d be in the minority there), it’s a burger place in the Northern Quarter in Manchester.

I tried my first Almost Famous burger a couple of months ago (as I’m veggie, I ordered the ‘Alicia Silverstone’, which some might argue isn’t a burger at all, but anyway…). I enjoyed my experience — the place is quirky, and both the food and service were great.

Since I went a couple of months ago, a lot of hype seems to have built up around Almost Famous that and it’s all gone a bit crazy, to be honest! There is often a big queue outside with a bouncer standing there. The other night some of the guys at work tried a couple of times to get in but failed and I’ve heard a few other mates in the same situation.

How have they done this? How have they built up this hype? There are lots of amazing places to eat in the Northern Quarter, including plenty where you can get a decent burger. But you won’t notice a queue building up outside Solita, Trof, Common or Home Sweet Home on a nightly basis…

Are Almost Famous burgers actually that much more amazing than the burgers you can get elsewhere in the northern quarter? I think not, but that’s just a preference and not really what this is about.


So how have Almost Famous done it?

1. They have a bouncer

You’d usually find bouncers outside nightclubs, not restaurants. This gives the place a sense of exclusivity, and almost builds a sense of scarcity, making people feel like there’s a limited duration when they can go, which builds up the anticipation. The result: people are prepared to wait a long time to taste one of those burgers…

2. They’ve got everyone talking about them

Almost Famous have a great social media presence, regularly tweeting and posting on Facebook to effectively create a sense of community. They post pictures of crazy 20 layer burgers that you can win, build excitement around new recipes and recruit new staff, engaging with their customers and bringing a sense of ‘lifestyle’ to the brand.

3. They’ve a distinctive tone of voice

I wouldn’t say that AF’s brand proposition is really that different to many of the other brands in the Northern Quarter, but HOW they talk about things is. Their tone of voice is cheeky, humorous and cocky; they swear a lot and are sometimes even a bit vulgar, and the menu’s full of playful names and descriptions too. This difference makes them stand out from the crowd in a very distinctive — and pretty cool — way.

Almost Famous Tweet 4

Almost Famous Tweet 3

Almost Famous Tweet 1

4. They’ve built up a base of brand advocates

A lot of people love Almost Famous, and they tell EVERYONE: they re-tweet posts, and encourage workmates and friends to go there. This creates a chain of brand advocates that just keeps on building.

5. They launched at just the right time

Timing was on their side.The launch of Almost Famous led to a new wave of restaurant openings, and the Northern Quarter’s now more bustling than ever.

So, whether you’re a fan or not, no one can deny that Almost Famous have got it very right. And the latest venture from the same team, [Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn, looks set to follow suit.

We’d love to hear your comments — what do you think is the secret of Almost Famous’ success? Are we missing anything?