Lick's, Toronto's original "better burger" joint, has been closing the doors on a few of its franchises, including its flagship original Beach location. An article in today's Toronto Star (in which Benjamin Allison, Burger Derby founding member is quoted) blames market saturation and the fact that burger joints are having to steal market share from one another.
The Star gets it most of the way right, but it fails to mention the bottom line reason Lick's, a long-time Toronto landmark on the fast food skyline, is having its market share pulled out from under its feet. Quite simply, Lick's grew up before the word "gourmet" was ever applied to a burger, and then spent the recent "better burger" boom resting on its laurels.
Where joints like Big Smoke and Burger's Priest are taking burger quality to new levels, and doing it reasonably cheaply, Lick's is still charging a premium price for an inferior product. Put simply, Lick's is allowing itself to atrophy.
There's room in the market for premium burgers and lousy ones (as indicated by the continuing success of McDonald's and Burger King and others like them), but there isn't much room for a middle ground.