Five Guys’ Hottest Competitor Is Selling Burgers for $1 — Here’s the Catch

November 2, 2017, 9:49 AM UTC

Smashburger, the fast-casual chain that’s trying to challenge Five Guys, has a plan to win over customers with $1 burgers from mid-November to January.

Smashburger’s ploy to take down America’s favorite hamburger chain is by selling a $54 pass that allows customers to buy $1 burgers. Customers can buy 54 burgers for $1, as long as you purchase them within the two month holiday period. The thing is, you have to pre-pay the $54 pass, and the burgers cost $1 on top of the price of the pass–so really, it’s a $2 burger.

“We’ve never done it before,” CEO Tom Ryan said in an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News. “We’re going to see how it works.”

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Here’s how it works, according to NRN: For $54, customers get coupons that they can then trade to unlock a burger for $1 every day. The promotion runs from November 15 through January 9, excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Denver-based burger chain is trying out the Holiday Smash Pass in an attempt to boost sales, which they said they modelled after seeing the success of Olive Garden’s Pasta Pass, which gives customers unlimited pasta bowls for $100. The pass sold out in less than one second in 2017, says NRN.

“My strategy came from watching the results of the Olive Garden thing,” Ryan said. “It’s a big program. There’s clearly some demand for a product such as this.”

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According to NRN, a burger from Smashburger on average costs $6.70. If you were to buy 54 burgers–the maximum number of days the Holiday Smash Pass covers–it would end up costing $361.80. With the $54 pass and a burger every day, the cost would total $108 — saving $253.80.

Restaurants offering discounts through pre-paid deals are popular around the world, from Japan to Dubai, as food outlets seek to stand out in an increasingly saturated industry.