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 Lim"burgers" with Savoy Cabbage shown below!


Better Bacon Means Better Burgers

Go to the JONES FARM RECIPE PAGE to get the Bacon Brisket Burger recipe for June.

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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No Shortage of Breakfast Competition

Despite the avian-flu-related egg shortage with which supermarkets and restaurants are dealing, McDonald’s is trying a new take on a core breakfast item. The 350-calorie Bacon & White Cheddar McMuffin is on menus in Chicago, priced at $2.99 alone or $3.50 with a small coffee. Radio ads support it.

McDonald's Bacon & White Cheddarr McMuffinLest anyone howl about the timing of McDonald’s test, keep in mind that Jack in the Box last week introduced a Steak & Egg Burrito. Burger King has been testing a Fully Loaded Croissan’wich. Just as egg prices were skyrocketing in April, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s introduced the Mile High Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit. The competition for breakfast sales continues unabated, even if egg supplies threaten to dwindle.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “The H5N2 bird flu has claimed more than 36 million layer hens, almost all of them in the Upper Midwest. The loss equals about 12% of the nation’s egg-laying capacity.”

For the major chains, supply is the problem more than price increases since the largest chains usually have commodity prices locked in. And even if supplies tighten more, the biggest clients get what’s available. In a June 1 statement, McDonald’s, said, “We do not anticipate an impact to our ability to supply eggs to our restaurants and serve our customers.”

“We don’t know why other restaurants haven’t been affected by this shortage yet, but it sure has affected us,” 770-store Whataburger said on its Facebook page. “Our primary egg supplier was one of the hardest hit by this shortage.” As a result it has reduced breakfast hours to 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays but is keeping the usual 11 a.m. close on weekends. For now. Whataburger points out that the shortage has an impact on any item that includes eggs, such as pancakes and cinnamon rolls.

[Subscribers: apologies for the resend of an old post earlier today. RSS provider snafu.]

Last Week’s Most Intriguing Burgers

June already. May turned out to be a great month for interesting burgers, including during its final week. Gathered here are seven of the most intriguing burgers spotted in the past week, collected as inspiration for even greater creativity this month. Watch for the June Burger of the Month specials roundup at the end of the week.

Wolfes Gourmet Burgers

Wolfes Gourmet Burgers, Dundonald, Northern Ireland
The San Andreas Burger
Char-grilled beef burger plus a juicy Cajun chicken fillet, sweet onion relish, smoked applewood cheese, red pepper and chilli salad, jalapeño and pickle dip and house-made baby spicy garlic wedges

Johnny Rockets

Johnny Rockets, multiple locations
Big Pastrami Pretzel Burger
A 100% fresh beef patty topped with grilled pastrami, provolone cheese, caramelized onions, yellow mustard and sliced pickles on a soft pretzel bun

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

It’s The Oinkster’s 5th Annual Burger Week

Burgers endure because burgers are just plain fun. And who has more pure, kid-again, play-with-your-food fun with burgers than the folks at The Oinkster in Los Angeles? Its 5th annual Burger Week celebration kicks off on Monday, June 1, and continues through Sunday, June 7, and once again it’s loaded with good food and fun.

The Oinkster's Klogger

The Klogger

The Oinkster's Atomic Hot Pepper

Atomic Hot Pepper

As in the past, Chef Andre Guerrero and The Oinkster team have created a special burger for each day of Burger Week. But some new wrinkles have been added. One is that the celebrating extends across two locations: the original Eagle Rock Oinkster and the year-old location in Hollywood. Exclusive drink specials have been created for each day as well (check The Oinkster’s Facebook page next week for beverage details). There’s also a special cupcake for the week: The “Over the Rainbow” with six rainbow-hued layers of vanilla cake with creamy white chocolate frosting and a kiss of gold leaf, all inspired by “The Wiz.” Finally, The Oinkster has collaborated with Highland Park Brewing for an exclusive, LTO beer for Burger Week: The Simpsons-inspired Red Tick Beer amber ale. Click here to continue reading It’s The Oinkster’s 5th Annual Burger Week

Will Chanticleer Acquire Little Big Burger?

Chanticleer Holdings likes burger concepts. Since 2013, the owner of Hooters of America has acquired American Roadside Burgers, The Burger Co., the BGR: The Burger Joint chain and the BT’s Burger Joint chain, all of them along the East Coast. But last month Chanticleer Holdings announced the filing of a $15 million shelf registration and added that it has entered a letter of intent “for the acquisition of an eight store, award-winning ‘better burger’ concept in the Pacific Northwest.Little Big Burger, Portland, Ore.

“As a fast growing company with a clear acquisition strategy to augment organic growth, having a shelf in place provides additional financial flexibility to access growth capital,” Chanticleer explained in announcing the moves. “The recently signed Letter of Intent is further evidence of this strategy, adding to the three acquisitions we have made in the better burger space. We are excited about the success of our restaurant portfolio to date and look forward to continuing to scale the business and drive enhanced profitability for shareholders.”

So what burger chain is Chanticleer buying? There’s one concept that certainly fits the bill: eight-unit Little Big Burger, based in Portland, Ore.

In response to a request for confirmation, Chanticleer Chairman-CEO Mike Pruitt replied, “We have not disclosed.” A request for confirmation or comment to Little Big Burger’s pr representative didn’t elicit a response.

Little Big Burger exteriorI think it’s Little Big Burger. Eight units, all in Portland or Eugene, Ore. A better-burger menu of quarter-pound regionally sourced, natural-beef burgers; local cheeses and fresh produce. Recently voted Best Burger in Eugene. It even has its own proprietary condiment—Camden’s Catsup—created by Micah Camden, who opened Little Big Burger in 2011 and who also owns several other Portland eateries, including Yakuza Lounge, Beast, Blue Star Donuts and more.

Camden clearly likes to create concepts more than he likes to expand them. Last year, after he opened Little Big Burger’s one and only Eugene location, he was asked by Portland Monthly if he planned on opening more outside Portland. His answer: “F**k no. My name means something in Portland. Everyone has varied opinions of me, but my name has weight in Portland now. I feel safe and secure enough to go out and try new things, or take on more than I can chew.” So Micah Camden may well be happy letting Chanticleer Holdings do the heavy lifting of franchising the concept across the Pacific Northwest.

Little Big Burger is a simple, straightforward burger joint. The menu options are limited to a Cheese Burger ($4.25), Hamburger ($4) and Veggie Burger (made by Marie at Chez Gourmet; $4). There are Truffle Fries, a variety of soft drinks, floats with Tillamook vanilla ice cream and Barq’s root beer, and the requisite assortment of canned local craft beers.

Little Big Burger is not like the bigger-menu, bigger-bar burger concepts that Chanticleer Holdings bought out East, but it could be just the right concept for the Pacific Northwest. When Chanticleer announces who it has been courting, we’ll know if I’m right.

Now Together, Good Times, Bad Daddy’s Make Plans

BurgerBusiness.com spoke with Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard President-CEO Boyd Hoback in 2012, when he expressed interest in acquiring another concept. We talked again in 2013 when it acquired a stake in the Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar concept, allowing Good Times to open it in Colorado. Earlier this month Good Time acquired all remaining ownership interests in Bad Daddy’s International, LLC, which owns the Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar concept and a number of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar restaurants, for $21 million. It was time to call Boyd Hoback again.


So the brands have been living together but now you’ve opted for marriage?
Something like that. We got more and more comfortable with [Bad Daddy’s] as we had three stores we were operating here. We had been negotiating over the past four or five months with the folks down at Bad Daddy’s to buy [the remaining interests in the concept]. We came to an agreement and we got ‘er done. We’re excited about it.

Bad Daddy'sTrue Blue

Bad Daddy’s celebrates National Burger Month with a different LTO each week. The True Blue has two custom-blend beef patties, bacon, tomato and blue cheese spread on a brioche bun.

We’ll have the seven Bad Daddy’s in North Carolina we’re acquiring and then by the end of this year we’ll have seven in Colorado. So 14 company-owned and then two franchised and one licensed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

You’ve moved pretty steadily expanding Bad Daddy’s.
We’ve moved pretty quickly. Our first [Colorado] store opened a little slow. We were a bit concerned but we figured out that that was a site issue, not a concept issue. Our next two that opened were barnburners. We’re comfortable with the concept and believe we have a big runway.

Where we’re finding we do best is upscale suburban real estate with retail. We’re taking market share and we think that’s coming from that commoditized casual-theme-restaurant market. Our first store in North Cherry Creek [Colo.] was more an urban location. And we found there are a lot of cool restaurant around there. But there aren’t cool restaurants out in suburbia. That’s where Bad Daddy’s is really ringing the bell.

We operate across the street and down the block from TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s, Chili’s, Red Robin, Olive Garden and all those guys. I think our food quality being what it is and our atmosphere being what it is, that’s what’s being the draw for us.

You’re not staying away from direct competition?
No, we’re going right across the street from it. We have a higher check: we’re at $16 or $17 per person. But we’re doing more on the bar side: we’re in the high teens in our bar mix. Red Robin’s trying to get to 7½% because they’re so family focused. We’re family friendly but we’ve got an atmosphere that’s more conducive to doing more bar business. But we’re not a sports bar, which is good. The market we see for us is enormous. Click here to continue reading Now Together, Good Times, Bad Daddy’s Make Plans

The Week’s Most Intriguing Burgers

Burger creativity accelerates in spring. If you doubt that, take a look at the BurgerBusiness.com New Menu Item Archive and see how many new burger ideas have come on since the March doldrums. Below are a few of the more notable builds spotted on menus in the past week. There are many more. And if need additional inspiration over the long weekend, you’re always welcome in BurgerBusiness.com’s Killer Burger Recipes vault. Enjoy.

Victory Burger, Oakland

Victory Burger, Oakland, Calif.
Gold Beets Two Ways
Five Dot Ranch burger with Riverdog gold beet chips with tempura beet greens, spicy plum-blueberry compote and plain mayo on an Acme kaiser roll

Sausage & Bacn

McDonald’s, UK & Ireland
Sausage & Bacon Sandwich
Pork sausage patty, three slices of bacon, cheese and grilled onions on ciabatta with choice of brown sauce or ketchup

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

Trendspotting at the NRA Show

No one understands the foodservice business in the UK and Europe better than Peter Backman, managing director of London-based researcher Horizons. He also is one of the sharpest observers of the trends evident at the annual National Restaurant Association Show. Peter Backman was on the show floor for this year’s just-completed event as well and BurgerBusiness.com is pleased to share his insightful report, titled “The New Normal.”NRA Show floorNRA Show floor

In his introduction, Backman writes: “Two words were on everybody’s lips – Millennials and Fast Casual. They formed the leitmotiv of this year’s NRA Show. Later on, we comment on what these words mean but they translate into the confirmation that the world of tomorrow will be different from today’s because the latest cohort of new consumers – the Millennials – have different perceptions, aspirations and lifestyles from their predecessors – Gen X, Baby Boomers and the rest.

“While Millennials aren’t the only people attracted to Fast Casual outlets, they are hugely influential in their emergence. The sector is growing significantly faster than any other sector in the restaurant space whether quick service, casual dining, family dining, or fine dining.

“Overall the US foodservice sector is forecast to grow at a shade under 2% in real terms in 2015 (that’s getting on for 4% in nominal terms) – and the outlook is brightening which means the outturn may be slightly better…The overall take away is that the US foodservice market is expanding just a bit, and because one specific sector – Fast Casual – is a clear winner, it is clear to everyone where they should be focusing their attention.”

There’s a long weekend coming up. I invite you to spend a small part of it reading Peter Backman’s complete report, which can be accessed here.

Has Carl’s Jr. Shattered the $5 Burger Ceiling?

Carl’s Jr. tomorrow (May 20) introduces its Most American Thickburger and most eyes will be on TV spokesmodel Samantha Hoopes or the burger’s unusual combination of a third-pound Angus beef patty topped with a split hot dog and potato chips. But what quick-service restaurant operators see is a test of consumer resistance to higher pricing. Given the push for higher minimum wages, high beef prices and the continuing crush of operations overhead, price elasticity will be increasingly critical to operators.

CarlsJr._MostAmericanThickburgerCarl’s Jr. and sibling Hardee’s have priced the new cheeseburger (at r.) at $5.79 for the third-pound version and $8.29 for a combo. Boom. That doesn’t just inch over QSRs’ longstanding $5 line in the sand for QSR burger prices; it shatters it. With its signature bravado, Carl’s Jr. ventures where other QSR burger chains have longed to go but couldn’t pull the trigger.

Last year, Wendy’s reportedly tested a Beef Brisket Cheeseburger priced at $5.99 a la carte. But the Pulled Pork Cheeseburger it ultimately introduced nationally last September was back under the ceiling at $4.99. That’s the same price it used for the return of the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger and Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich. The Jalapeňo Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich Wendy’s added last month and the Bacon & Blue on Brioche before it? Both $4.99.

MCD12960_Sirloin_Group.tifJack in the Box’s late-night-only Munchie Meals are $6, but these include sides and a drink. For burgers, Jack has stayed below that $5 price point. The Spicy Sriracha Burger came out at $4.59; the new Buttery Jack upscale burgers are priced at $4.49 or $4.79.

And, of course, McDonald’s new Sirloin Third Pound burgers (at l.) have joined its menu, priced at $4.99.

The self-imposed $5 ceiling was apparently based on the idea that consumers wouldn’t spend more than that on a burger. Carl’s Jr.’s own “Six Dollar Burger” label was based on the idea that you’d pay that much for a comparable burger at a casual-dining restaurant. But having niched itself in-between QSRs and casual dining, fast casual hasn’t hesitated to charge $5 and up for a burger. The bottom-run single ShackBurger at Shake Shack is $5.19; the ShackMeister LTO it added in December starts at $6.19. The cheapest option at Smashburger is $4.99 (Chicago prices) and burgers range up to $7.29. The Counter’s signature burger is $12 and half-pounders can hit nearly $16.

You can debate whether quick-service burgers match the quality of fast-casual or casual-dining burgers. If the necessary perceived value isn’t there, QSRs will stay below $5. But if Carl’s Jr.’s Most American Thickburger is a solid success, watch for the next round of new quick-service burgers to be priced at $5.09, $5.19, $5.49 or higher because leveraging consumers’ willingness to pay a little more is really the “Most American” thing of all.