What’s the right burger for your customers? While research points us toward globally inspired, bolder burgers, it also tells us that many consumers still crave the good old traditional burger. Whether they’re going with familiar or adventurous burger builds, consumers are eating more of them. Indeed, Technomic’s 2011 U.S. Burger Consumer Trend Report tells us that burger consumption is up dramatically since 2009: nearly half of today’s consumers (48%), compared to just 38% of those polled two years ago, say they eat a burger once a week or more often. Interestingly, burger consumption at home has increased only slightly since 2009, demonstrating that foodservice is driving the overall increase in burger consumption.
Differentiating your burger menu from the competition is perhaps the greatest challenge. Offering value through premiumization is one effective tactic. Consumers are willing to pay more for a specialty burger, especially a premium burger, than they are for a standard burger, regardless of the type of restaurant.
BUILDING THAT PERFECT BURGER.
THE MEAT—for the best burgers choose meat from the shoulder, or chuck, area of the animal. For a juicy burger, look for a fat content between 15 and 20%. For seasoning, add kosher salt and cracked pepper.
THE VEGETABLES—The flavorless tomato has turned into a locally sourced tomato, a sun-dried tomato or fried green tomato. The white onion has transformed into grilled red onions and fried onion strings, adding textural contrast. Lettuce is now sometimes red leaf lettuce, or arugula. We are also seeing things like fresh and pickled jalapeños, avocados, sautéed mushrooms and roasted red peppers.
THE CHEESE—Cheese can really give the identity to a burger before any other vegetables, condiments or toppings are added. Add a slice of Jalapeño Jack for a Southwest identity. If you choose Brie, you’re serving a burger with a French twist. Gruyère, a Swiss influence. You can build the burger from there—from the inspiration of the cheese.
THE SPREAD—I think the main thing that separates a good burger from a great burger is the spread, whether it’s as simple as a sweet and smoky BBQ sauce or a thick steak sauce. Adding a signature touch is easy with quick embellishments: chipotle plus mayonnaise, steak sauce plus guacamole, BBQ sauce plus bourbon.
THE BUNS—There’s such a great assortments of breads today, and there’s definitely swing toward artisanal breads. Whether you go with brioche, French rolls, ciabatta, kaiser rolls or dark rye, it needs substance, so it can hold all of the ingredients and still have its own good texture and flavor.
Source: Kraftfoodservice.com, 7.17.12