Whatafuck: the brazilian “Shake Shack”

written by Marcos Hiller

burgerWhat is the secret of success of a food company? What makes a restaurant being crowded forever? What is the risk of investing in a hamburger pop-up store? What are the most important variables that must be observed to aspire to the success of a restaurant? These are complex issues and who do not have ready and definitive answers. As with any business segment, and the food industry mainly, some say that success is in the correct selection and good negotiation with suppliers, some believe that is in the kitchen chef prestige, others think that the service is the main factor for to retain customers and keep them satisfied.

A few years now, we grow dramatically in the US, a sensational case. A hamburger chain who understood well the equation and knew surgically calibrate these variables: the Shake Shack. This food chain has been seen as a true inspiration at the scene of downtown cuisine of New York since it opened its first store in Madison Square Park in New York for 11 years. The network was created by the renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer, and has since grown into a global chain with 41 US outlets and 29 franchises abroad, in cities like Moscow, Dubai, Istanbul and London. Brand fans line up to buy their ShackBurgers, the hot dogs, the milk shakes made with handmade local ingredients (where each store has its own unique creations) and a craft beer. To learn more about them, read the recent issue that came out in the magazine Fast Company here.

inauguração Whatafuck Fotos Tessalia-3820 de maio de 2015But we don’t need to go to New York anymore to prove something so good, fair and genuine. I had the great pleasure of meeting the newest sensation of the dining scene in Brazil, more precisely in the  city of Curitiba: the Whatafuck. An English term that neither has much literal portuguese translation, is the name given to a new hamburger newly opened in Batel, a fancy neighborhood. The name of the  cafeteria yes, is controversial, but it is sound, viral and impactful, and clashes with the more conventional names of restaurants. And the irreverence and informality are present not only in name but in all the  brand touch points with your audience .: from how to place an order, how the snack is delivered, the friendliness of the attendants, the tone brand in posts Instagram. In just three months, the Whatafuck already ranks second among hamburguerias city within the Foursquare geolocation application.

Ready burger down (tightly packed) and whirling by a slide designed especially for the place, from the kitchen which is on the first floor. Something absolutely unusual and different. Daniel Mocellin, the founding partner, is on the front lines, taking orders and at the same time, making sure that customers are satisfied with the product. Mocellin, ten years ago are fan of craft beers, insists that the regulars of his diner savor high-quality draft beer. He even is who chooses the beers and daily makes requests to the distributor, at dawn, by whatsapp, after closing the doors. The hamburger has always engaged six taps of craft beer in Curitiba, a city where the beer scene is no longer a trendy, has become culture. By the end of August, the number of taps will go to eight. There is a plan to start having their own label beer, similar to what some diners from outside Brazil already do. Katz’s Delicatessen in New York, where you can eat an emblematic pastrami sandwich, we have the “Katz’s Ale”, and Shake Shack, we have the beer “ShackMeister”, both made by Brooklyn Brewery.

inauguração Whatafuck Fotos Tessalia-4220 de maio de 2015The Whatafuck business model was inspired from a nearby hamburger Shake Shack. During a trip to New York, Daniel Mocellin met the Burger Joint. There, a small door behind a red curtain in the lobby of the luxurious Hotel Le Parker Meridien, gives access to a hamburger where there are no waiters, the customer himself is the one who makes the request in the box, and after being called by name, back to get your snack. Finally, when it finishes eating, he is asked to throw your trash in the trash. The Whatafuck tries to work the same way: the menu is small, with the proposal to be a quick snack, without losing quality and taste.

According to Daniel, the good acceptance of hamburger does not happen only because of the sandwich. The entire project took a long time to articulate the desired manner. “First I majored in journalism, then in Technology Marketing. I had to leave a postgraduate degree in e-branding by half to dedicate myself to the project. I worked for four years with management and communication planning for restaurants. So I had a chance to open the Whatafuck, and power for the first time create a way of strategy that I wanted from the beginning. But I also believe very much in the talent of the people who surrounded me in design. I believed in my partner’s capacity (in fact, it was my client for three years), which already has a hamburger here. I knew he was going to get a quality product for a price that was possible to work. I knew that my friends architects would make the best design, and actually did. For me, it lacked only create the concept, identify an approach that had everything to do with the public street, and set the language for it. It worked. Staff at Whatafuck have all the freedom they deserve. To be able to achieve the result which I hope it is vital that each of them can express that their best for the public, “says Daniel, the founding partner.

wtfDespite a real war operation (in average daily sales have reached the 450 mark burgers), everything is very organized. Tables to sit, are only a few within the store. Most customers are standing on the sidewalk of the street Vicente Machado, youth effervescence point of Curitiba. The flagship is a hamburger sold at reasonable 10 reais (Brazilian currency), or about 3 USA dollars. Something absolutely unimaginable to a resident, for example, the city of São Paulo, a famous stronghold of flapping and famous hamburgerias. But not in São Paulo neighborhood bakeries eating a hamburger at this price and with this high level of quality then, no way. In winning and peeled hamburguerias you see today in Sao Paulo, do not pay less than 25 reais to eat a classic X salad. But Whatafuck eating something really tasty, homemade and, on Wednesdays, with free bacon. All for 10 reais.

Yes, a tasty burger really tasty, with a juicy meat, selected ingredients, fresh and chosen with great care. The bread as well as beer, is delivered daily. The quality and taste of hamburger meat protagonists of the gastronomic experience of the site. A hamburger well set up, you eat holding it with one hand, and without the delicious homemade mayonnaise drain through our fingers. All firm, tasty, just right. When in Curitiba, be sure to visit the Whatafuck. A business model made with passion and mainly with extreme attention to detail. Impeccable branding work. Something quite bold, inspiring and very brave, even in a city like Curitiba, where the gastronomic standard is very high. Whatafuck!

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