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Burger Chains Accelerate Menu R&D

Filed under Burger, Menu

Burger chains are accelerating menu R&D to counter a continuing softness in the market. The National Restaurants Association reports that its Restaurant Performance Index dipped 1.4 points from February, with its Current Situation Index and Expectation Index both showing declines. As a result, a string of new menu items are going into test or onto burger-chain menus.

For example, McDonald’s disclosed that it is inching closer to joining the loaded-fries trend by offering flavored french fries—Gilroy Garlic Fries—in four San Francisco Bay locations. That will expand to 250 locations in August if the item is a hit.

McD Garlic FriesMcD_GilroyGarlicFries2

Employees toss french fries (to order) in stainless-steel bowls with a purée that includes chopped Gilroy garlic (Gilroy, Calif., is a major garlic producer), olive oil, Parmesan cheese, parsley and salt.

In a release, McDonald’s Corp. described the garlic fries test as “part of a trend at McDonald’s to experiment with regional flavors and food on its menu.” Another example of this trend is McDonald’s trying a Tender Pork & Gravy Biscuit in North Carolina.

Although it just recently launched Chicken Fries Rings, Burger King is adding to its breakfast menu with an Egg-Normous Burrito, as first reported by Bloomberg. The burrito contains sausage, thick-cut bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns, shredded Cheddar cheese and melted American cheese in a warm flour tortilla and served with Picante Sauce on the side.

BK Egg-Normous Burrrito

Burger King also has a new extension of another of its recent menu additions. GrubGrade reports that the chain is testing a third variety of its Grilled Dogs, this one called a Whopper Dog. The $1.99 hot dog is dressed in Whopper fixin’s: lettuce, tomato, pickles, chopped onion, ketchup and mayo. The original varieties are the Classic and Chili Cheese Grill Dogs.

Smashburger Spicy Cowboy

Through June 27, Smashburger is offering a Spicy Cowboy burger (above) on its menu. The build includes grilled garlic jalapeno peppers, sweet and smokey BBQ sauce, melted Cheddar, bacon and crispy haystack onions.

The Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar chain in Pennsylvania has added three burgers in celebration of National Burger Month. These are the The Wagyu Doughnut Burger (grain-fed, free-range Wagyu Kobe burger with crispy applewood-smoked bacon and creamy American cheese on a glazed doughnut); Wagyu Pretzel Cordon Burger (shown below; its Wagyu Kobe burger topped with grilled ham and Swiss cheese, served on a fresh pretzel roll brushed with house honey-mustard dressing) and a Wagyu Parmesan Burger (its Wagyu Kobe burger topped with hand-cut and hand-breaded mozzarella triangles and house marinara, sprinkled with shaved Parmesan cheese and served on an all-natural brioche bun).

Arooga_CordonBleuBurger copy

It’s not on the menu but Shake Shack has been known to offer the Crackle Shack burger at special events. The burger—with American cheese, pork cracklings, malt vinegar and Shack Sauce—came out this week (shown below) at the Vegas Uncork’d event in Las Vegas.

Shake Shack Crackle Shack

2 Responses to Burger Chains Accelerate Menu R&D

  1. those fries need to go national.

  2. Chef Keith

    If those fries go national, Richard, can you see McD’s during busy times keeping up with the quality of that product? If you go to the ones in my area at, say, midnight, it takes roughly 15 minutes just to get a Sausage McMuffin ( no egg ).