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 Wisconsin Gouda Garlic Burger shown below!

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Visit the Killer Burger Recipe Vault

Want the recipe for the Cream Cheese Stuffed Garlic 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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A New Look for BurgerBusiness.com

BurgerBusiness RedesignBurgerBusiness.com will look different and—I hope you’ll agree—better beginning Aug. 28, 2015. The site is six years old now and has been in need of a redesign not just to appease Google’s preference for mobile-ready sites but also to feed my need for new things digital to learn. Bear with me as I get comfortable piloting the new site.

The latest news still will be front and center, of course. BurgerBusiness.com is a news site. But it will be easier for those interested in the Killer Burger Recipes page to find it. And you’ll see tabs bringing up recent Burger of the Month, The Week’s Most Intriguing Burgers, research posts and other frequently searched for topics. Tabs linking to the New Menu Item Archive, Top Burger Menu and About pages will be on the top nav bar as currently. Subscribers will receive new posts by email as they do now.

When I created this site in 2009, I said its primary function was to be “a gathering place for news, data, opinions and insights about burgers, restaurants that serve burgers and the people who own and work in those restaurants.” That hasn’t changed: I still love burgers and burger restaurants.

Scott Hume
Editor
BurgerBusiness.com

Burger Customization Meets Crowdsourcing

Fan photos of their customized burger creations have become Facebook staples for many burger chains and bars. Canada’s South St. Burger is taking that idea a step farther by creating what it’s calling a “Not-So-Secret” Menu. These are four new sandwiches inspired by customer’s photos of custom burgers. These are made possible by what the chain claims are the 730 million ways to order a burger because of its extensive array of topping options. They join the menu in celebration of the concept’s 10th birthday on August 30.

South St. Mac's big burger

South St.’s Mac’s (Big) Burger

The Burgers are Mac’s Big Burger (two 4-oz. patties with two cheese slices, lettuce, pickles, onions and house South St. Sauce; The South St. Chicken Club (a club sandwich with grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheese, tomatoes lettuce and garlic mayo); The Cheesy Vegetarian (a veggie patty with cheese); and The Naughty Vegetarian (a veggie patty with bacon).

Hungry for more ideas, 30-unit South St. Burger is inviting diners to submit photos of their customized burgers via Twitter, Instagram or the chain’s Facebook page. Winners get Burger Bucks (vouchers that can be redeemed for anything in the restaurant).

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CarlsJr_FrTstBrSandThat Carl’s Jr. and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey found each other makes sense. The chain likes female spokespersons because its clientele skews heavily male. That it’s for something described as “sweet and savory” less so. Beginning August 31, she’ll appear in TV spot for Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s new Cinnamon Swirl French Toast Breakfast Sandwich.

The build is a fluffy folded egg with melting American cheese; choice of sausage, ham or bacon; a maple syrup sauce drizzle and two slices of Cinnamon Swirl French Toast. Suggested price is $2.99, or $4.69 in a combo with hash browns and a beverage.

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The epitome of McDonald’s strategic shift allowing local markets to determine local LTOs may be the reappearance of Mighty Wings at its stores in Detroit now. During the item’s national appearance in 2013, the chain sold 40 million pounds of its 50 million-pound stock. McDonald’s many haters in the media gleefully called the item a flop. I thought 40 million pounds was a lot of chicken to have sold.

McWhopper?: BK Calls for Peace & Collaboration

[Updated: McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook’s response is attached at the end.]
In a full-page “open letter” ad appearing Aug. 26 in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, Burger King proposes to McDonald’s that they collaborate on a joint burger, the “McWhopper,” in the interests of nothing less than world peace.

Burger King already has designed hybrid "McWhopper" packaging, just in case McDonald's says yes.

Burger King already has designed hybrid “McWhopper” packaging, just in case McDonald’s says yes.

The ad (see it here) suggests “a one-off collaboration between Burger King and McDonald’s to create something special—something that gets the world talking” about Peace One Day, a non-profit lobbying to designate September 21 as Peace Day. Its mantra is “Who will you make peace with?” Burger King’s ad suggests that it and McDonald’s “call a ceasefire on these so-called ‘burger wars’ ” in the spirit of peace.

The fruit of their collaboration would be the hybrid McWhopper. “All the tastiest bits of your Big Mac and our Whopper, united in one delicious, peace-loving burger,” the ad suggests. A mixed crew would sell the hybrid burger only on Sept. 21, 2015, only at one location. More details can be had at http://www.mcwhopper.com.

In a statement, Fernando Machado, Burger King SVP for Global Brand Management, insists the invitation is more than a PR stunt. The goal, he insists, is to bring attention to Peace One Day. “We’re being completely transparent with our approach because we want them to take this seriously,” Machado says. “It would be amazing if McDonald’s agrees to do this. Let’s make history and generate a lot of noise around Peace Day. If they say no, we’ll hopefully have, at the very least, raised much-needed financial support and consciousness for the great cause that is Peace One Day. And both are well worth the effort.”

Response from McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook:

McDonald's Response to BK

Donald Trump Burger Makes UK Appearance

National Burger Day may be a UK event, but Donald Trump is there, too, if only in name. The third annual celebration of the one-day (Aug. 27) event includes 20% discounts on burgers at hundreds of UK restaurants—from burger bars to ethnic concepts—plus a “Street Feast” Thursday evening at Dalston Yard in northeast London. The £15 admission price (sorry sold out) allows diners to sample mini burgers (ranging from 2.6 oz. to 4 oz.) from 18 restaurants (including Philadelphia’s PYT) plus desserts from the delightfully named Crumbs & Doilies and Scoopsy Daisy.

Lucky Chip's Trump Burger

Lucky Chip’s Donald Trump Burger

The Donald Trump Burger is the National Burger Day entry from London’s Lucky Chip Burgers (which features Kevin Bacon, John Belushi and vegan Woody Harrelson burgers on its regular menu). The Trump Burger is cooked medium, with the restaurant warning that “there might be some blood coming out of it,” according to the Evening Standard. The topping include applewood-smoked bacon, American cheese and a “really, really rich” bourbon-vanilla barbecue sauce. Grilled onions will be neatly arranged on top a la The Donald’s hair, and it has pickles that “will leave a sour taste in your mouth.” The 105 gram (3.7 oz.) burger will be £6 at Thursday’s Street Feast.

National Burger Day is the creation of Mr. Hyde, a daily email from entertainment and lifestyle site ShortList, and Big Eater, which describes itself as “a regular meet-up of people on Twitter; eating and drinking involved.”

In addition to Lucky Chip and its Trump Burger, participants and burgers at the Aug. 27 Street Feast will be:

  • B.O.B.’s Lobster; B.O.B.’s Burger: a 40-day dry-aged patty, Iberico ham, sauce foyot, and jamon dust.
  • Bad Egg; Korean Pulled Pork Burger: Rare breed beef patty, Smokehouse Korean pulled pork, gochujang and baby gem lettuce.
  • Bleecker St.; Bleecker Animal Style: beef patty, American cheese, extra sauce, pickles, tomato, lettuce and grilled onions.
  • Burger Bear; Super Angry Grizzly: 45-day dry-aged patty, American cheese, smoked pancetta, curried pickled jalapeňo relish and scorpion bacon jam.
  • Busan BBQ: Chili Cheese Slider: 28-day rare breed beef patty, soy bulgogi sauce, American cheese, jalapeňo popper, kimchi and scotch bonnet relish.
  • Chai Ki by Roti Chai: Toddy Shop Slider: Dry-aged beef and pork patty, bacon chilli chutney, kasundi mustard and smoked Cheddar.
  • Duck’N Roll; Confit-Comme Ca: Mulard duck patty, foie gras, pickled girolles, crispy corn, Roquefort and bitter leaves.
  • Dip & Flip: Green Chilli: Beef patty, fried green chillies, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, white cabbage slaw, pickles and lashings of gravy.
  • Dirty Burger; My Hyde Burger: “Designed by YOU and revealed on the day.”
  • Honest Burgers; Karma Cola Burger: Ginger Pig dry-aged beef patty, Karma Cola braised short rib, smoked applewood Cheddar, house pickles, green chilli coleslaw, braised cola gravy.
  • HotBox; Piggy Burger: Dry-aged beef patty, American cheese, pulled pork collar, white onion, crunchy pickle and scotch bonnet BBQ sauce.
  • Le Bun; Foie Gras and Summer Truffles: Aged brisket-and-chuck patty, foie gras, shaved summer truffle, truffled beef jus and American cheese.
  • Mother Flipper; Bacon Special: Aged beef patty, candy bacon, shoestring fries, American cheese, pickles and MF Special Sauce.
  • Nanban; Sasebo Stamina Slider: Shoyu-buttered beef patty, cola-braised pork belly, American cheese, burnt-garlic mayo, ginger-pickled onion and gochujang burger sauce.
  • PYT Burger: Pickleback Slider: Custom beef patty, applewood bacon, fried pickle chips and Jameson glaze.
  • Slider Bar; Bangkok Burger: Red paste “mustard fried” beef patty, som tam pickled Thai cucumbers, Asian herb salad, crispy sweet basil, kaffir lime leaf, crushed peanuts and nam prik pao “sour chilli” relish.
  • Smokestak; US v. UK: USDA brisket vs. Hereford dry-aged patty, smoked bone marrow and candied red onion.

Hot Dogs Joining Burger Bar Menus

Hot dogs have been nudging their way into the menu spotlight at many burger joints but nowhere more than at Chicago’s Rockit Burger Bar, which next month celebrates its second annual “Hot Dog Takeover.”

Rockit Burger Bar

Rockit Burger Bar’s Bourbon BBQ Burger

From September 4th through 7th, the restaurant will feature hot dogs inspired by its burgers. The dogs include The Double (with toppings from the Double Cheeseburger), Macdaddy (with the braised beef short rib, mac and cheese, caramelized onions from the burger of the same name), and the Truffle Mushroom (with toppings—including truffle crème fraîche—from the Truffle Mushroom Burger).

Rockit Burger Bar Hot Dog

Rockit Burger Bar’s Bourbon BBQ Hot Dog

While there hasn’t exactly been a “takeover” yet, hot dogs are joining chicken sandwiches and burgers to become a power trio on many burger-bar menus. According to Paul Pendola, foodservice industry analyst at Mintel, there has been a 6% increase in quick-service menu appearances by hot dogs over the past three years. Sausages are up 5%.

An unscientific BurgerBusiness random survey of 100 burger bars found 35% of them have at least one hot dog option on the menu. Some, such as The Burger Shack in Whitehall, Pa., have more. Its nine dogs include a Pork Dog with pulled pork and a Texas Dog with house barbecue sauce, bacon and cheese spread. Epik Burger in Jacksonville, Fla., just added hot dogs to its menu, with options that include the A1A, topped with jumbo shrimp, grilled pineapple and wasabi cocktail sauce.

Burger chains are sensing hot dogs’ resurgence. Just this week, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers added its grilled-bratwurst-topped ÜberBurger. Burger King reportedly tested grilled hot dogs and corn dogs recently. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s went to its usual extreme with the Most American Thickburger, topped with a split hot dog, potato chips, pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mustard.

Some burger bars are making hot dogs their “burger” of the month special. Reuben Dogs with pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Cajun rémoulade are the August special at Westchester Burger Co. in White Plains, N.Y. Los Angeles’ The Oinkster made a Chili Dog (quarter-pound hot dog, chili, mustard, tomato, diced onion, shredded Cheddar and a pickle spear) its BOTM in April.

Red Robin Fashions Trendy Fall Lineup

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers again adds a seasonal burger for fall, but this year it also taps into two hot menu trends: topping burgers with hot dogs or sausage, and dressing up fries into entrée-size creations.

Red Robin UberBurger

Red Robin’s ÜberBurger

Through Nov. 1, Red Robin puts a new item in its premium-price Finest burger lineup: the ÜberBurger. Carrying a suggest price of $14.49, the burger starts with a half-pound Black Angus patty and tops it with candied bacon, grilled bratwurst and Samuel Adams® OctoberFest glazed onions drizzled with Merkts beer cheese. It’s served on a toasted hand-crafted pretzel bun with shredded romaine lettuce and beer mustard.

Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s went this route in May with the Most American Thickburger, topped with a split hot dog, cheese and potato chips. At $5.79, it was one of the first QSR burgers to be priced over $5, as BurgerBusiness.com reported. A recent LTO at Flip Side burger bar in Hudson, Ohio, was the “Ballparker Burger”: a 7-oz. grass-fed beef patty topped with a grilled Kobe beef hot dog, American cheese, sweet & spicy relish and ballpark mustard.

Red Robin poutine

Red Robin’s Great Northern Poutine

Red Robin’s fall menu also includes a straight-up bratwurst for those who love them just for themselves. The Cheesy Beer Brat, priced at $9.99, is a Johnsonville bratwurst served on a cheesy baguette with roasted-garlic aïoli, bruschetta, onion, tomato and beer-cheese dipping sauce.

The menu’s new appetizer is Great Northern Poutine Fries, a signature twist on poutine. Continuing the trend to entrée-size fries that Wendy’s recently joined with its Baconator Fries, Red Robin’s version covers its steak fries with thick brown gravy, garlic aïoli, sautéed mushrooms and fried cheese curds. It’s offered at an entrée price: $9. A Spiced Pumpkin Pie Milkshake completes the fall menu lineup.

Burger Consumption Stays Strong

Americans’ love affair with burgers is still on, still hot. “Burgers certainly aren’t going away,” says Jennifer Aranas, project director for Chicago researcher Datassential, which has released its MenuTrends Keynote Report on Burgers. “In terms of consumption, they’re still going strong.”

Three out of four Americans had a burger in the past week–23% had one in the past 24 hours; another 26% in the last 2-3 days—according to the Datassential report. About two-thirds of the burgers we eat are consumed away from home, and although only about one-third of quick-service restaurants menu burgers that’s enough for QSRs to be the top source of away-from-home burgers. And when consumers think about going out for a burger, the major QSR burger chains still come to mind first, according to Datassential’s Brand Fingerprints tracking.

Nearly half of all restaurants menu burgers, according to Datassential, and beef remains the primary choice. Turkey, chicken and non-meat patties are making gains, however. Bison has increased 45% in menu appearances in the past year. Customization has established itself as a major factor in dining habits: 43% say the ability to build their burger they way they like affects their choice of restaurant.

When Americans cook burgers at home, about half are using scratch-made beef (or other protein) patties, with the rest using pre-pattied or frozen convenience foods.

Not surprisingly, Datassential’s report finds that while Cheddar, lettuce and onions are among the most commonly used toppings, the variety of foods going atop burgers is increasing. As this site has noted in the past, smoked Gouda has become a fashionable cheese choice. White Cheddar and cream cheese show gains. Sriracha made the largest gain among sauces, showing a 160% gain in menu appearances in the past year. And 66% more burgers are served on pretzel buns compared with a year ago

The MenuTrends Keynote Report on Burgers combines comprehensive data from some 7,000 menus with the opinions and behaviors of more than 1,000 consumers nationwide plus insights from hundreds of operators. Click here to continue reading Burger Consumption Stays Strong

Burgers Boost Casual Dining Lunch

Casual-dining restaurants enjoyed a 2% increase in customer traffic at lunch during the 12 months ended in June 2015, according to The NPD Group. This was the mid-scale table-service segment’s first increase for the daypart in five years. How did casual dining improve in the face of fast casual’s steady growth? NPD says the “weapon of choice between these contenders is America’s all-time favorite restaurant food, burgers.”

Applebee's burger promo

Applebee’s has added a $6.99 Monday burger promotion.

Total foodservice burger servings were 8.9 billion for the period ending in June 2015, compared with 9 billion for fiscal 2014, according to NPD data. But burger servings at casual-dining restaurants were up 3% for the June-ended period and were the segment’s only daypart showing growth. Burger servings at quick-service restaurants were flat for that period.

NPD says the average burger price at the casual-dining tier is $9.02, compared with $5.62 at fast-casual restaurants. However, it notes that casual-dining concepts usually include fries in the price (such as Red Robin’s Bottomless Fries) but fries are an a la carte extra at fast casuals, where they can boost average check by as much as $2.89, according to NPD.

Although its love for burgers tends tends to regularly rise and fall, casual dining currently is in a committed relationship. Applebee’s this week added an All-Day Brunch Burger and The Blazin’ Texan burger to its “All-In Burgers” lineup. It also will feature all its burgers for $6.99 with limitless fries in a Monday Burger Night promotion The Max & Erma’s chain’s latest is a Cola BBQ Bacon Burger with Cheddar, caramelized cherry-cola onions, bacon, onion rings and cherry-cola barbecue sauce. Red Lobster has a Wood Grilled Burger ($9.99 with fries) on its lunch menu but the Italiano Burger that Olive Garden introduced at lunch in 2013 has since left the building.