Trends & Insights

The Burger's Gotten Some Work Done

Friday, October 28, 2016

Some may call it a facelift. Others may call it foodservice operators’ responses to growing consumer trends. Tomato, tomahto.

So, let’s look under the knife.

Technomic’s Top 500 Burger Report examined operators that focus on burgers within the limited-service space. It found that, from 2009 – 2014, QSRs have seen 2.2 percent growth, LSRs have seen 2.5 percent growth and fast-casual burger chains have experienced 15.4 percent growth. There’s a clear opportunity in the fast-casual space for suppliers when it comes to burger offerings.

What’s on the menu at these fast-casual places? MenuMonitor finds that premium, specialty burgers have a larger menu presence than other burger offerings and are growing in menu mentions at more than eight percent.

But what makes a burger premium? Technomic reports that 46 percent of consumers (62 percent of millennials) agree that specialty toppings make a burger premium, and 44 percent of consumers (56 percent of millennials) agree that a large quantity of toppings makes a burger premium.

Popular specialty toppings include avocado, fried egg, pulled pork and beef brisket, and consumers are willing to pay extra for them: $1.10, $1.20, $1.50 and $1.80, respectively (Technomic).

Further, with a nod to increasingly popular ethnic tastes and flavors, Sriracha sauce is one of the fastest-growing ingredients mentioned in burger offerings. It experienced a 59 percent YOY growth in Q1 2016. Other unique ingredients on Technomic’s YOY fastest-growing burger offerings list include: remoulade (+41 percent), short ribs (+25 percent), chorizo (+22 percent) and brioche (+22 percent).

This much is true: the burger’s appearance, in many instances, has changed quite a bit from the way it looked not so many years ago (just make sure you compliment the chef the next time you see one).

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