Better Burgers Still Thriving

August 1, 2012

2 Min Read
Better Burgers Still Thriving

CHICAGOAs part of its research into the limited-service restaurant (LSR) burger market, Technomic has found that while McDonalds drives roughly half of activity, upscale, fast-casual better burger concepts are quickly moving in. In fact, fast-casual burger chains grew sales by 20.8% last year, while all limited-service burger chains grew 3.7%. And Technomic reports that it sees plenty of room for continued growth, as fast-casual sales currently only represent 3.2% of LSR burger-segment sales. Its findings have been compiled into the recent release, Market Intelligence Report: Better Burgers.

Better-burger concepts have a lot going for them, says Darren Tristano, executive vice president, Technomic. First, they have the benefit of a basic and beloved menu focus. Raising the quality of the protein, bun, toppings and sides has been a winning formula. And a number of celebrity chefs have opened concepts that focus on burgers made with premium ingredients, helping to raise their profile. Plus, the segment includes some of the rising stars of the industry overall. For example, Smashburger grew sales by more than 71% in 2011, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries increased sales by 24%.

Noteworthy findings in Technomics report include:

  • Many full-service chains have gotten in on the better-burger action by adding gourmet burgers to their menus and have opened burger-focused spinoff concepts offering build-your-own burger options

  • Quick-service burger chains have raised the quality of their burger offerings

  • Consumers place a premium on quality of their burger: 74% rank quality/taste of the meat or protein as the most-important part of the burger

  • Cheeseburgers are the top hamburger type on LSR burger-chain menus

  • Customization is keyseveral fast-casual brands offer a build-your-own-burger option, where customers can choose from a variety of proteins, breads, cheeses, toppings and sauces

For further insight into the better burger trend, review the Better Burgers Image Gallery, Burger Wars, Part 1: Game Changers and Burger Wars, Part 2: Ethical & Transparent, all on the Food Product Design website.

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