March 9, 2017 - mh9868a
How BGR Speaks to the Overall Rhetoric of Dupont Circle
When most people walk or drive down a street, they are only focused on their destination. We want to go from one location to another as efficiently as possible. We are busy and only want to move from one task to the next. With that being said, many people go from place to place without even thinking about it. Often, we never stop to actually think about where we are or where we are going. Moreover, we do not stop to think about why the grocery store is in one space at one specific location, but a restaurant is in an entirely different space and location. Ultimately, there is a rhetorical relationship between these specific institutions and their locations, but people rarely pay attention to it.
In this essay I will use the relationship between location and rhetoric to argue that the placement of The Burger Joint (BGR) in Dupont Circle contributes to the overall rhetoric of the community.To do this, I will analyze BGR’s website to show the Dupont Circle location’s connection to the Dupont Circle community. This essay will analyze BGR’s website to find out if the restaurant contributes to the overall rhetoric of the residents who live in Dupont Circle. In other words, I will analyze various components of the website and argue that those parts are attempting to contribute to the rhetoric of Dupont Circle.
While Dupont Circle is a known for being a nice neighborhood, it is also vibrant community in Northwest DC where residents and visitors often go to shop and relax. It is lined with beautiful brick homes and mansions. There are endless shopping and dining options for everyone who visits. Families, friends, and couples walk the streets with shopping bags and donuts from the local Krispy Kreme. Many couples eat in window front restaurants while families stick to more fast casual dining. Also, on nice days many people visit the park in the circle and just walk around or sit by the fountain.
While The Burger Joint is largely known for it’s food, the atmosphere of the restaurant also deserves recognition. The outside of the Dupont Circle location is black and white. The black part is old metal, and the white part is concrete. The font on the sign at the top of the front window looks like a typewriter font. The sign also has the acronym BGR on it. Inside the restaurant, the menu posted on the wall is white, black, orange, and green which really helps it stand out among the other wall decals. The menu displays the many options for burgers, milkshakes, sandwiches, and more. The atmosphere of the inside is just as cool as the outside. The inside feels very modern yet rustic with its exposed brick, exposed wire, and bright white paint. That is, the atmosphere of the restaurant is laid back and casual just like many other burger places in Dupont Circle. Overall, the relaxed atmosphere of BGR contributes to the well being of the Dupont Circle customers.
The Burger Joint contributes to Dupont Circle’s community because it conforms to many restaurant trends in the area. Firstly, BGR conforms to the trend of vowelless restaurant names. In her article called, “In Dupont Circle, Who Needs Vowels?,” Eater: Washington DC writer Missy Frederick writes about the Dupont Circle trend of eliminating vowels from businesses names. In her article, she discusses several restaurants in the Dupont Circle area that do not have vowels in their names such as GRK, STK, and BGR. In fact, all of these restaurants are fast dining places. So, the second Dupont Circle trend BGR conforms to is the fast dining burger restaurant. Furthermore, in his article called “A Burger Joint Is Opening in Dupont Circle That Serves Only Virginia Beef,” Tim Carman of The Washington Post says that, in addition to BGR, there are many more burger places in the area such as Red Apron Burger Bar, Bare Burger, and Shake Shack. All of these burger places conform to the trend of fast dining, family restaurants in Dupont Circle.
The Burger Joint’s website created a location specific menu tab to contribute to each specific location’s community. More specifically, the website is designed so that customers can access and read the menu for their specific location. In fact, BGR features a specific menu for the Dupont Circle location in an attempt to be part of the Dupont community. For example, the Dupont Circle BGR offers a cherry blossom shake in honor of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in DC. This is a way for the restaurant to connect to its customers and be a part of their community. Overall, allowing customers to view their specific menu is a way for the BGR restaurant at Dupont Circle to make a more personal connection to the customers visiting Dupont’s specific location.
The BGR website’s Dupont Circle specific menu features many of the restaurant’s usual gourmet burgers in order to compete with other gourmet restaurants in the area. As previously mentioned, there are many gourmet restaurants in Dupont Circle, and many of those are similar burger places. Therefore, The Burger Joint needs to attract customers who want a regular burger and those who are looking for more upscale food. So, to attract both types of customers, The Burger Joint offers run of the mill hamburgers and cheeseburgers as well as their famous gourmet options. For example, while conducting my research I asked an employee about which burgers were the most popular at the Dupont Circle location. He said that the popular options for the gourmet burgers include the Wellington, the Korean BBQ, and the Cuban burgers. In fact, the Wellington alone has won numerous awards for the restaurant. Also, BGR frequently has a franchise-wide special burger of the month that they use to draw in customers regularly. Moreover, BGR hopes that customers will be interested in coming back to the restaurant if they consistently feature an appetizing burger of the month. However, each location does have a different, more personal shake of the month. As I mentioned, the Dupont Circle shake of the month of April is the Cherry Blossom shake in order to connect with the cherry blossom community at springtime in DC. Overall, the menu for the Dupont Circle location is an attempt to connect with the rhetoric of the community.
The Burger Joint’s website also features an About Us page where they attempt to connect with their local community of customers. More specifically, the About Us page talks about how BGR values serving its customers fresh meat. BGR knows that fresh food is important to consumers because consumers want to make sure the food they are eating is natural. In fact, the website is stressing that the burgers are, “made to order and cooked to temperature.” Of course, it is very important for The Burger Joint that their customers know the food is fresh. Therefore, BGR stresses this fact to ensure that customers in the community who value fresh food know that BGR takes those values seriously. That way, the restaurant can show the community where it is located that BGR is dedicated to the specific location’s community values. Overall, the BGR website’s About Us page is one of the restaurant’s ways of connecting to the location’s surrounding community.
The BGR website uses a variety of rhetorical devices in order to make their customers in Dupont Circle feel connected to the restaurant. For example, on their main page the website displays a giant photo of a big, juicy cheeseburger with a bunch of toppings. This image is using pathos to capture the website viewer’s attention. In other words, BGR wants the photo on the website homepage to appeal to the viewer’s pathos so that the viewer will see the photo of a burger and imagine himself eating it. That is, the image of the burger is meant to appeal to the viewer’s imagination. So, BGR is hoping that if the viewer sees the burger, then he will suddenly want it. Also, the BGR website uses logos in its writing in order to appeal to a customer’s logic. For instance, the website uses a lot of key phrases that the writers knew could capture the attention of customers. For example, the website includes buzzwords such as “passionate,” “quality,” and “masterpiece” to describe their burgers. The creators of the website made sure to use logos so they could use divisive words to attract an audience. Lastly, the website uses ethos on their press page to attract their customers. By listing all of the awards that The Burger Joint has won, and the specific awards certain locations have won, BGR is using ethos to make customers trust the food at the restaurant. When customers see that BGR has won many awards, they will be more inclined to try the burgers. BGR’s use of these classic rhetorical devices help the restaurant blend with the norms of award winning restaurants in Dupont Circle.
In this essay I analyzed the The Burger Joint’s website to show the relationship between location and rhetoric to argue that the placement of BGR in Dupont Circle contributes to the overall rhetoric of the community. I argued that, although many people do pay attention to the way cities are laid out, there is an actual rhetorical reason for place and location. In most cases, that unnoticed rhetorical relationship actually affects the community, Hopefully, after reading this paper more people will realize how relevant place and location are. I hope that they will understand the importance to recognize the rhetorical relationship in their own lives and neighborhoods. Because if we all paid more attention the world we live, then we will ultimately gain a better rhetorical understanding of it.
“About Us.” BGR The Burger Joint, Chanticleer Holdings, 2017.
“Dupont Circle, DC.” BGR The Burger Joint, Chanticleer Holdings, 2017.
“Home.” BGR The Burger Joint, Chanticleer Holdings, 2017.
“Locations and Menu.” BGR The Burger Joint, Chanticleer Holdings, 2017.
Carman, Tim. “A Burger Joint Is Opening in Dupont Circle That Serves Only Virginia Beef.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 22 Dec. 2016, Accessed 3 Apr. 2017.
Frederick, Missy. “In Dupont Circle, Who Needs Vowels?” Eater DC, 15 May 2014, Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.