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The Counter, a Culver City-Based Chain, Looks to the Future

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Photo courtesy of the Counter on Facebook
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The world of fast-casual dining is quickly expanding with chains like Blaze, Pizza Rev, Chipotle, and the Counter furthering their reach. Not only do these chains offer people something quick, affordable, and relatively healthy compared to their fast food counterparts, but they also give guests the ability to get creative with their customization.

From the gluten-free to the absolutely decadent, diners can choose their own burger adventure at the Culver City-based chain called The Counter, which the L.A. Times recently profiled in the Business section.

The Counter has recently launched a smaller mini-chain called Built near USC, too, but owner Jeffrey Weinstein is also wary of expanding too quickly.

Says the L.A. Times:

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Weinstein's vision for the Counter initially involved as many as 600 units nationwide before he scaled back projections to roughly 250 locations, with as many as 15 openings in 2013....Weinstein worries about not only competitors but also larger forces such as looming healthcare reforms, proposed food labeling regulations and rising commodity prices. The original Counter burger cost $6.50. Inflation and price increases have since pushed it to $9 or more.

"We don't want to gouge anyone," he said. "But prices may have to go up — it's a reality of our business, and we're not going to be the only ones doing it."

Weinstein takes his job seriously, and that's a good thing since L.A. is pretty much ground zero when it comes to the burger. (Eater National said last week that Las Vegas is hot on our tails, but we'll have to see about that one.) On his trips, he goes gung-ho, and once visited 19 restaurants in six hours for the sake of research.

It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.