A new fast food restaurant has hit the scene near downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall. Five On Black is not your ordinary fast food establishment, they are a Brazilian Grill taking a more modern style that is along the same lines as fast food chains like Qdoba and Chipotle, where the food is prepared fast but doesn’t sacrifice your ability to eat healthy on the go. In the ever-increasing hustle and bustle around downtown Denver, people want to be able to eat healthy, quality food, for a good price.
Their mission statement at Five On Black states that they are ‘Doing Healthy. Better’ and that they provide ‘healthy, fresh, gluten free food, prepared the right way to fit your busy lifestyle’ and based on my experience they certainly lived up to their claim.
Although I wasn’t in a rush at the time, I normally am, so when I walked into the restaurant and ordered my food it was prepared in less than two minutes which is absolutely awesome. The longest part of the entire ordering process was making up my mind on what I wanted my bowl to include. You walk in and the ordering process is very simple. There are two different sized bowls to choose from and once you decide on your portion size you then decide on what you want it to include. They break your options down into 5 easy to follow steps; choosing your base, your protein, your side, sauces and toppings. They layer it into the bowl neatly so it is your choice to eat it section by section or blend it all together and go nuts which is normally what I choose to do.
Five On Black is the Brazilian variation to Chipotle and Qdoba, creating what is very similar to a burrito bowl for around the same price with fresh and healthy ingredients to choose from. I did notice that Five On Black did offer seafood which neither of the competing chains offer, which gives them a unique protein to add into the mix and add more healthy variety. Chipotle and Qdoba are both traditionally based off Mexican food, and being a first timer to Brazilian I wasn’t quite sure how it would stack up. My bowl included rice, chicken, sweet potatoes, and mango barbecue sauce which brought a whole new flavor of sweetness to something that would tend to be a little bit more spicy on the Mexican side. The food was well cooked and delicious, as well as extremely filling.
The restaurant itself was very big and open with lots of room for seating. They have taken an extremely modern, healthy approach to fast food and done a killer job at covering all aspects to make consumers who are looking for fast and healthy alternatives to look no further. They keep things very simple and the menu doesn’t have a variety of options to choose from, making the food simple to prepare and serve once it is cooked. Basing themselves in the same blueprint for success as competitors like Chipotle and Qdoba, they have even taken it a step further to help satisfy the increasing variety of consumers who prefer vegetarian or gluten free dishes. The only criticism I have of the restaurant is the bowl itself. After bringing my leftovers home, my friend asked if I had stopped to buy Chipotle, and it got me thinking that the bowl itself looks almost identically to a burrito bowl. Although they are similar in style and service, their food flavors are very different, so a case of mistaken identity could happen more often than not and potentially not be drawing the attraction and praise to their food as it might be worthy of. My suggestion would be branding unique bowls that still fit the identity the restaurant desires, to separate themselves further from their competition.
I had a great experience at Five On Black and I think there will soon be many more of these restaurants to come. They have established a brand and a market for their products that works and now they need to capitalize, so that many other people in different places around the country can experience the healthy, delicious flavors of this Brazilian Grill.