Are Burgers Today’s Hottest Menu Item?

A recent industry report from Technomic, Inc. says burgers are the hottest of all food menu trends. The report also says their popularity is not only limited to quick-serve restaurants but is also true of full service restaurants.

Executive Vice President of Technomic Darren Tristano said, “Burgers may be the one area of foodservice that American consumers are less willing to cut back, despite the current economic environment.”

This information is thought to be an important opportunity for restaurants, especially since a large percentage (about a third) of consumers says they are willing to pay more for a premium or specialty burger. According to Darren, “The value proposition is heightened.”

What makes a Burger Premium?

About three quarters of respondents in the report said they consider the quality or type of meat such as Angus or Wagyul; about the same number of consumer’s report that it’s a high quality cut of meat like sirloin that really matters to them.  The report also notes both sirloin and Angus beef have risen in popularity in the last two years.

From fast food to full service, the report shows that beef content in a burger is more important than any other factor.  With all restaurants in all segments, consumers responded that good quality/taste of meat as the first and second most appealing burger element.

What’s on Top Counts

When all restaurant segments are included, quality/taste of toppings rises to 41% of consumers who ranked this element first and second. With full service restaurant operators wanting to tap into the potential of burgers, various sizes of burgers, as indicated by half of respondents/consumers, could be a good area to target.  The report notes that restaurants might consider offering mini burgers to half-pound burgers as menu choices.

Notes: Results are from 2,529 respondents, of whom 1,194 eat burgers at least once per week; 832 once every two-three weeks; and 503 once a month or less. Participants could choose up to three responses. Source: 2009 Burger Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, Inc.; copyright Technomic, Inc. 2009

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