Wisconsin Cheese Adds Value

When you turn cheeseburgers into Wisconsin Cheeseburgers, you’re not just adding extra flavor, you’re adding the prestige of award-winning quality. Quality your customers will pay a premium for.
Click HERE to visit the Wisconsin Cheese Burger page and get the recipe for the Juicy Lucy Sliders with Wisconsin Provolone and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto shown below!

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Better Bacon Means Better Burgers

Go to the JONES FARM RECIPE PAGE to get the Bacon Stuffed Cheeseburger recipe for April.

Visit the Killer Burger Recipe Vault

Want the recipe for the Double Cheese Poutine Burger shown above? Looking for burger recipes from Bobby Flay, Jamie Oliver, Umami Burger or Michael Symon’s B Spot? Visit BurgerBusiness.com’s Killer Burger Recipes vault. _________________

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Red Robin Does Goat Cheese on Chicken Burger

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers’ new sandwich is a first. I think the Spring Chicken Burger available this week is the first burger from a major U.S. burger chain to use goat cheese as a topping. The build also includes grilled chicken, bacon strips, sweet pepper salsa, crunchy onion straws and lettuce with roasted garlic aïoli, together on a whole-grain bun. It’s on the menu through June 14.

Red Robin Spring Chicken

Red Robin Spring Chicken

Burgerville, a regional chain based in Vancouver, Wash. tried a Balsamic Strawberry & Goat Cheese Panino in 2009, but that wasn’t a burger. McDonald’s did a goat-cheese-topped burger in 2011, but that was in France. Could goat cheese be the new trendy topping?

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The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro hates a burger vacuum, so no sooner has it completed its Baconism II promotion than the Canadian chain kicks off a “Patty Like a Rockstar” promotion to spotlight burger-build options.

The 24-store chain already has 50 different burgers on the menu, but each promotion adds a few new ones. The Rockstars’ include a holdover from Baconsim II, the Getting’ Piggier With It, which starts with The Works’ signature 8-oz. bacon-and-beef patty and adds Canadian bacon, cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, bacon ketchup and crunchy onion strings. There’s a Juicy Lucy with a cheese-stuffed beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion and mayo. The Man Cave is a Canadian-beef patty topped with caramelized onions, bold BBQ sauce, Jack cheese and bacon.

Works Juicy Lucy

The Works’ Juicy Lucy

There’s also a turkey burger, The Hipster, with caramelized onions, avocado and Havarti cheese sitting on a turkey patty. And, being Canadian, there’s an elk burger: the Elk on a Beech has avocado, house Beechhouse sauce, sun-dried tomato and feta cheese on a Canadian Elk patty. Want chicken? The Sexy Burger has sweet and spicy sauce, pineapple, cream cheese and banana peppers on a whole-chicken-breast patty. And for those steering clear of meat, the Babewatch has avocado slices and Monterey-Jack cheese on a veggie patty, while the Grills Gone Wild has grilled eggplant, avocado, salsa and feta cheese on a portobello mushroom cap. With purchase of any of the Rockstar specials (including the Rockin’ Red Velvet Cheesecake Shake) can enter a contest to win a Moosehead-stocked Marshall amp mini-fridge. The winner is named July 20.

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And it’s noteworthy that just as the Arches is testing all-day breakfast, the morning meal gets attention elsewhere. For those who wish the all-day test included biscuit sandwiches, Carl’s Jr. & Hardee’s have introduced the $2.99 Mile High Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit. Bagel chain Bruegger’s has a new spring menu, too. It includes a new Chorizo Jack breakfast sandwich (a freshly cooked egg with pepper-Jack cheese, chorizo sausage and jalapeňo on a guajillo bagel).

Why Chanticleer is Buying Up Burger Brands

Carolina Roadside Burger at American Roadside BurgersChanticleer Holdings Inc. is buying burger concepts, although its entry into restaurants came in 2006 when it bought a minority interest in wing-concept Hooters of America Inc. (HOA), that brand’s parent company. In 2011 the Charlotte, N.C.-based firm exercised its right of first refusal to acquire HOA and it operates or franchises more than 400 Hooters in 28 countries. It shifted to burgers in 2013 with the purchase of then-five-unit American Roadside Burgers. It followed with acquisitions of The Burger Company., a Charlotte burger restaurant; the 20-location BGR: The Burger Joint chain, based in Lansdowne, Va.; and, in March, Charlotte-based BT’s Burger Joint, which has four locations. Its 2014 acquisition of fine-dining seafood restaurant Spoon Bar & Kitchen in Dallas proved to be one of its few missteps. But Chanticleer’s burger buying isn’t finished as was clear from BurgerBusiness.com’s interview with Chairman-CEO Mike Pruitt and Rich Adams, president and COO of Chanticleer’s American Burger Co. subsidiary.

Tell me why you love burger concepts so much.
Mike Pruitt:
Well, I’m an American! But Chanticleer started as an investment fund and to some degree I still consider myself an investor first. Our foray into restaurants was driven by an investment we made in Hooters back in 2006. [Acquiring Hooters parent in 2011] put us in in a big way. Once we got in, we started looking at what might be the best opportunity to take advantage of the platform that Hooters allowed us to develop, both in terms of a network of people, and also our having restaurants in five parts of the world with a very experienced team.

The idea of taking America abroad really became our focus internally. But out of the blue we had the opportunity to buy American Roadside Burger. We wouldn’t have bought it if we didn’t have the right guy to operate it, because we’re not operators. But Rich Adams, having been part of a very successful turnaround [as an executive] at Bojangles came to me and said, “If you’re interested in buying this business, I’d be interested in coming and running it for you.”

American Roadside was a fairly low-visibility brand at that point, from my vantage point at least. What did you see in the concept?
MP:
It has a really good following at its Smithtown, N.Y., location, which was the original. We’re based in Charlotte and it has a couple of locations here. They were just opening in Greenville, S.C., and Columbia, S.C., hadn’t opened long before. The product was really good. What struck us in doing the deal was that when we brought in Rich, the investors in the deal brought an additional $2.5 million up to the table to kind of get us started in the category. That was a good vote of confidence.

How does The Burger Company fit with it?
MP:
That’s a great geographical fit. It’s a great product with a slightly different opportunity in terms of how they did business. We were always looking for the opportunity to get into the franchising business whether we did it organically or through an acquisition. When we were introduced to BGR: The Burger Joint, that opportunity really quickly made sense for us to acquire it and put us where we wanted to be.BGR burger and shake

BGR has overseas potential?
MP:
Oh they’re already there. They sold a 50-store deal to a couple of parties in the Middle East. They’re in Oman and Dubai. Their first is open in Kuwait City and two more are under construction.

We feel confident that our other concepts would have worked internationally if we had gotten the franchising part off the ground. But now that we bought BGR, that will be our franchising vehicle. It doesn’t mean we won’t incorporate some of our other concepts to give a different option to franchisees over there.

From my experience with Hooters, it would difficult to do business in most of Europe without a pretty good beer or bar presence. So BGR’s current prototype—although they do sell beer and wine—doesn’t have enough of the bar presence that may be required to succeed. The guys who run our Hooters in the UK have looked at BGR and have said it would need a little more bar presence for the UK.
Click here to continue reading Why Chanticleer is Buying Up Burger Brands

All-Day But Not Full-Menu Breakfast

McDonald’s will begin testing all-day breakfast in San Diego beginning next Monday, April 20, but it won’t be offering its full breakfast menu.

Just nine food items (plus McCafé beverages) will be on the post-10:30 a.m. menu, according to the San Diego McDonald’s co-op. The iconic Egg McMuffin is there, of course, along with Sausage McMuffin with Egg, Sausage Burrito, Sausage McMuffin, Hash Browns, Hotcakes, Hotcakes and Sausage, Fruit & Maple Oatmeal and Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait.

McDonald's all-day breakfast menuParticipating stores won’t be making biscuits all day and won’t be preparing McGriddles past the usual 10:30 a.m. breakfast close. They won’t be baking mini Cinnamon Coffee Cake or Double Chocolate bundt cakes all day, either. And if you’re a fan of the Steak, Egg & Cheese Bagel you’ll need to find a different choice for lunch or dinner.

The nine test items are essentially the same breakfast foods included in the “McDonald’s After Midnight”  menu, a mix of breakfast and lunch/dinner items (Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Double Quarter Pounder, Chicken McNuggets and a few others) offered between midnight and 4 a.m. (after which the kitchen shifts to all-breakfast).

The point is that McDonald’s already knows it can cook the San Diego all-day items alongside burgers, at least for a while. The all-day marriage is what’s in test.

The problem of making sausage and eggs at the same time in the same space as burgers and chicken has kept McDonald’s from extending breakfast hours before. It was two years ago that Atlanta operator J.M. Owens told BurgerBusiness.com, “We only have so much toaster space and so much grill space. Unlike a lot of breakfast QSRs, we still cook our product on a grill. Many of the pretenders are doing a ton of prep in microwaves. For instance, go into a Dunkin’ Donuts or a Starbucks, who are chasing breakfast, and you don’t find a grill or oven or fryer. We prefer to be a restaurant rather than processing everything through a microwave.”

McDonald’s first attempt at expanding breakfast in 2012, called “Breakfast After Midnight,” tested a limited breakfast menu (similar to the San Diego test) from midnight to 5 a.m. Later that became the “McDonald’s After Midnight” menu.

Members of the San Diego market’s My McCafé Club loyalty group are being invited to a special preview of the all-day breakfast menu tomorrow (April 18). One attendee will win breakfast sandwiches for a year.

McDonald’s Owners Doubt ‘Create Your Taste’

Steve Easterbrook has replaced Don Thompson as CEO but McDonald’s franchisees’ dissatisfaction with management has not been replaced with optimism. Janney Montgomery’s Scott analyst Mark Kalinowski’s latest survey of McDonald’s owners—32, representing 215 stores—finds them even less optimistic than they were a year or even a one month ago. One says the brand “has jumped the shark,” meaning it has run out of ideas.

McD_Aussie_CreateYourTaste_ Ad.400When owners were asked to rate their six-month outlook for their business on a scale of 1 to a high of 5, March’s 1.48 average was the lowest in the 11 years that Kalinowski has conducted the survey. Three months ago, the average was 1.67.

One reason for the gloom may be still-declining sales. The aggregate prediction from these 32 operators was that McDonald’s March sales were down 3.7% (and -4.6% in the East). Said one operator, “McDonald’s system is broken. They talk menu reduction to help our people, simplify our menu for customers, but add products t0 help sales and it does not work. We will continue to fall and fail.”

Another operator’s assessment of what’s wrong: “Customer concerns, McDonald’s leadership, customers want different tastes.”

McDonald’s held a “Turnaround Summit” with operators earlier this year. Most were not impressed with the ideas presented—especially the Create Your Taste customization platform being tested—or with management’s ability to engineer a turnaround. Said one, “The Turnaround Summit was a farce. The ideas presented—such as Create Your Taste—DO NOT fit our business model. McDonald’s Corp. has panicked and jumped the shark. The problem is an unwieldy menu—too big—and trying to be all things to all people.”

“Create Your Taste will cost approximately $125,000 per restaurant,” said another owner. “It sounds like, initially, sales with this new concept are very slow taking off.” One owner complained, “I came away from the summit confused. McDonald’s management does not know what want to be. Expensive—and slow—custom burgers in the same restaurant where we sell the Dollar Menu?”

One operator said simply, “Pie in the sky,” which may be the latest item on McDonald’s menu.

Last Week’s Most Intriguing Burgers

The burger business is truly international as this edition of “The Most Intriguing Burgers” evidences. There are interesting burger builds and ideas available around the world. Start this week with a look at just a few of the interesting burgers that surfaced last week.

Byron, multiple UK locations: Byronissimo Our brand new Italian-inspired special arrives at Byron on April 14 for a limited-time run. There’s fontina cheese, crispy pancetta and tomato relish on a Byron burger

Byron, multiple UK locations: Byronissimo
The Italian-inspired special arrives at Byron on April 14 for a limited-time run. There’s fontina cheese, crispy pancetta and tomato relish on a Byron burger

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Die Burgermacher, Vienna: Osterlamperl Burger (Easter Lamb Cake): A special Easter Pinzen bun with a tender lamb patty, house-made mustard, arugula, fresh figs, balsamic-fig chutney, house-made mayo and sage

Die Burgermacher, Vienna: Osterlamperl (Easter Lamb Cake) Burger:
A special Easter Pinzen bun with a tender lamb patty, house-made mustard, arugula, fresh figs, balsamic-fig chutney, house-made mayo and sage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to continue reading Last Week’s Most Intriguing Burgers

Heat Wave: Burger Chains Get Super-Spicy

Wendy’s next week introduces nationally the Jalapeňo Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich and its sidekick, Ghost Pepper Fries. These are the burger world’s latest attempt to see just how fiery a sandwich can be. Diners say, “Bring it on.”

Wendy's Jalapeno Fresco burgerWendy’s packs heat: the new chicken sandwich features an all-white-meat chicken breast topped with fresh, diced jalapeños and a proprietary ghost pepper sauce. It all goes on a freshly toasted red jalapeño bun. Menu is $4.99 (interesting because Wendy’s reportedly tested the sandwich at $5.49). The Ghost Pepper Fries are covered with cheese sauce and then topped with diced, fresh jalapeños, shredded Cheddar cheese and a ghost pepper sauce. They’ll be $1.99.

Wendy’s Jalapeňo Fresco Spicy Chicken comes on the heels of Carl’s Jr. And sibling Hardee’s introducing the $5.49 El Diablo, a third-pound or half-pound Black Angus burger with jalapeňo peppers, pepper-Jack cheese, habanero sauce, sliced jalapeňos, bacon. How spicy is this burger? Advertising gives this warning: “This Lava Bomb Will Melt Your Face Off.”

“Spicy” certainly isn’t new, but the kinds of ultra-spicy products coming on the market do reflect a shift in how much heat diners can stomach. Jalapeňos are giving way to habaneros and ghost peppers.

CarlsJr. El Diablo“When it comes to spicy food, a lot of the consumer research being done on the topic today clearly shows that the public’s desire for heat just keeps growing and growing every year,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, in announcing the burger. “We’ve witnessed that phenomenon in our own restaurants, where potential menu items that used to be rated as ‘too spicy’ in our market tests just a few years ago are now just right.”

Earlier this week, Burgerville, the Pacific Northwest regional chain that tends more to organic ingredients than spice, joined the trend with a Spicy Pickled Pepper Cheeseburger, topped with pickled peppers and chipotle mayo.

Jack in the Box's Spicy Sriracha Burger

Jack in the Box’s Spicy Sriracha Burger

Spicy burgers and chicken sandwiches have been piling up on chain menus. Ghost Pepper sauce is on the Jack’s Blazin’ Chicken on Jack in the Box’s menu, which also includes a Spicy Sriracha Burger. Burger King recently ran a Spicy BLT Whopper LTO and earlier offered a Spicy Big Fish for Lent. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers has a Fiery Ghost Tavern Double burger with ghost pepper sauce, pepper-Jack cheese and jalapenos.

The Spicy Houston burger is a current LTO at Johnny Rockets. In addition to spicy jalapeňos, the build has pepper-Jack cheese, leaf lettuce, tomato and house Smokin’ Chipotle Ranch Sauce.

Wendy’s has had several version of spicy chicken sandwiches and nuggets. A Spicy Chipotle burger and chicken sandwich were LTOs. Smashburger tried a Spicy Buffalo Chicken sandwich.

McDonald’s isn’t riding the heat wave. Its new slimmed down menu–it ditched the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder in the streamlining–doesn’t offer many spicy options. other than a Jalapeno Double.  The new Sirloin Third Pound burgers don’t have a spicy entry either. It’s one more area for the Arches to look at as it rethinks the brand.

McDonald’s McCafé Campaign Blends Ads/TV

McDonald’s is running an interesting campaign in the UK for McCafé that is both gentle branding effort and women-targeted marketing together in one clever media buy.

McD_UK_McCafeMoments2“McCafé Moments” are 30-second commercials that air during Channel 4 programming. Each features a small group of real people, most often women, who discuss events in the show the commercial interrupts. For example, in the most recent spot, airing during “The Island with Bear Grylls,” Daniela, Lauren and Genevieve discuss what they would do if they encountered a snake on an island, the predicament just featured in the program before the commercial break.

Spots begin and end with “McCafé Moment” signs and the women are clearly drinking from McCafé cups but the brand connection is no harder. The campaign is the joint work of creative shop The Outfit, media planner/buyer OMD UK and Channel 4, which provided the agency with advance access to programming content in order to point discussions in the proper directions. One spot features three male tree surgeons talking in a truck but the others have all-female casts, including several featuring a pair of twins, Hayley and Jenny, chatting on topics such as their dream homes over coffee in a McDonald’s.

“This ground-breaking partnership between McDonald’s, Channel 4 and OMD UK uses a format people know and love, weaving ‘McCafé Moments’ into the fabric of television,” Jess Roberts, OMD UK managing partner told Britain’s Lunch Business magazine.

Campaign says the campaign owes a debt to Gogglebox, a Channel 4 show in which real people in their homes watch and comment on other TV programs. But it also recalls “Girlfriends at Wendy’s Eating Salad and Talking About Stuff,” a video series that ran last year for Wendy’s Canada, created by agency MacLaren McCann. It was a little like Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” but with salads. The videos featured two women casually talking about what to wear, who to date and more while enjoying Wendy’s salads. In both the U.S. and Canada, the chain now is letting spokeswoman “Red” promote the salad line.

Look for McDonald’s to launch women-focused McCafé marketing here as the sub-brand expands. Muffins are now available in Chicago and spreading through other markets. Mini cinnamon and chocolate Bundt cakes are in Los Angeles and the chain will be expanding its pastry lineup later this year.

McCafé – Twins on their dream homes from The Outfit on Vimeo

A&W Gets Meaty with Deli Burger

A&W Restaurants will bring a little attitude to its menu when it unveils a new Deli Burger that’s topped with sliced pastrami, mushrooms, onion and Swiss cheese on a double burger. The chain says the burger arrives on April 13.

A&W Deli BurgerA TV spot labels this creation, “The greatest thing since sliced meat.” The brand’s advertising is handled by Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions in Lexington, Ky., where A&W moved after it was spun off to franchisees by Louisville-based Yum! Brands in 2011. The chain has roughly 700 locations, many of which are co-branded with former Yum! Siblings KFC and/or Long John Silver’s. A&W Canada has been a separate entity since 1972.

A&W’s signature item remains its root beer. A&W root beer has been around since 1919 and is named for founding partners Roy Allen and Frank Wright. The beverage is made in-house at A&W restaurants, sweetened with cane sugar.

The Deli Burger joins a solidly traditional menu at A&W. The third-pound double-patty Papa Burger is the featured burger. Chicken, tenders, strips and sandwiches also are on the menu. But every year or so the chain shows a bit of flash. In 2013 it was a BBQ Bacon Crunch Burger. Last year it was the Hand-Breaded Chicken Tender Texas Toast Sandwich, promoted with an even longer, 304-character hashtag: (#supertastylargeandinchargetexastoasttwohandwichmadewithdeliciousonehundredpercentwhitemeathandbreaded
chickentendersandyourchoiceofclassicorspicypapasauceeitherwayyoucan’tgowrongwowthatsoundsgoodyouneed
totryoneitsonlyavailableforalimitedtimeImgoingtohavetogogetonemyselfareyoustillreadingthisseeyouatAandW).