“Where’s the beef?” yelled an old lady on the television screen located in a typical suburban household somewhere during the 1980s. Since then, Dave Thomas of the popular Wendy’s franchise has become a household name. Dave Thomas did it, and now Boise gets to experience the beginning stages of a little guy making it in the big burger chain world.
Chadder’s officially opened its doors Dec. 29, and despite the timing, owners say the place was packed with curious customers. The building, located in the Target parking lot on Milwaukee, is now the first of three Treasure Valley locations to satisfy a craving for Chad Stubbs’ burgers, fries, drinks and shakes.
Stubbs is a businessman who started three other companies he nursed from scratch to become multi-million dollar businesses. After selling these companies, he then used everything he had learned through his experiences to start his own franchise: Chadder’s.
He grew up eating at his uncle’s burger shop called Cow Palace, located inside a bowling alley. “I used to always say if I ever had a place, that’s how I’d do it,” said Stubbs.
The first Chadder’s opened up in American Falls, Utah, during May of 2007 after two years of very hard work and research. Stubbs said he had a dream, a vision for the perfect burger, and he wasn’t willing to stop looking until he found just the right thing. He did this despite being told it couldn’t be done.
Only a few months after opening the doors of the first store, Southern California-based In-N-Out Burger filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Chadder’s.
In-N-Out claimed that Chadder’s was using its trademarked menu items and appearance. Several loyal In-N-Out customers e-mailed the heads of the restaurant, spreading rumors that Chadder’s had copied many staples of the popular restaurant, from the store’s décor to the meal’s packaging.
Shortly after that, a federal judge ruled that Chadder’s could stay open, provided it did not take any orders using any of In-N-Out’s trademarked names.
Stubbs recalled a customer saying, “You don’t look anything like them, and you taste better!”
He said when he opened his business “it wasn’t to be like anybody – it was to be better than everyone else.”
Stubbs and the four owners of the Boise store said they all welcome the comparison and invite customers to come in and give Chadder’s burgers a try.
During the restaurant’s first two years, Stubbs said he didn’t spend anything on advertising; he let loyal customers spread the word quickly.
The restaurant has a very simple menu that only includes three combination choices, but the basics are present: burgers, fries, drinks and shakes. Stubbs said he is working on adding salads and breakfast items to the menu this spring, and he plans to formulate his own dressings from family recipes.
He said he eats at his own restaurant every day, mixing it up, from the “Leaf and Beef” (burger wrapped in fresh lettuce) to the “Hat Trick” (three patties and three slices of cheese).
Ken Firmage, Doug Atwood, Nate Sampson and Scott Stewart all networked together to open up the Boise store and are working together to open the other stores soon.
Brianne Eggers writes for the Idaho Business Review and Business at its Best, on KTRV Fox 12.