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 Mediterranean Lamb Burger with Wisconsin Feta shown below!


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. _________________

Hot, Fresh Burger News

Add Community News

You have to be logged in in order to post.

McDonald’s Hackathon Seeks Millennial Engagement

By Monday, McDonald’s will have discovered the app that will best digitalize the restaurant experience and engage Millennials.

That’s the goal, at least, of McDonald’s three-day Hackathon—organized by BeMyApp—being  conducted today through Sunday (Nov. 23) in London. “If you are a developer, designer, startup-er, student or just passionate about new technology, register to come and be part of reinventing the restaurant digital experience in just 48 hours,” according to the event’s site, which invites participants to bring pajamas and sleeping bags.

The goal is for participants to work together to create “an innovative idea related to engaging digital in the McDonald’s restaurant experience.” The site offers these app suggestions: “How do you keep the McDonald’s Millennial customers after they leave the restaurant?” “How do you reward our key Millennial customers? How do you incentivize them to keep coming back without offering discounts, coupons o promotions?”

McDonald's explains how to use Apple Pay.

McDonald’s explains how to use Apple Pay.

A McDonald’s spokesperson told Marketing magazine that the Hackathon is intended “to involve our customers, experts and the wider public in our innovation processes, and specifically around digitalising the restaurant experience. The restaurant is the home of our brand and the physical experience we have there is key to how our customers engage with and love our brand.”

McDonald’s has made it clear through hiring and resource allocation that it intends to be the technology leader in the restaurant business. It named Atif Rafiq its first Chief Digital Officer and set up an office in San Francisco to work with tech giants. The chain recently partnered with Apple Pay for payments at both the counter and drive-thru.

During its Q3 conference call last month, President-CEO Don Thompson said the company intends redirect nearly $100 million to long-term growth initiatives such as its digital programs and “Experience of the Future,” which he said would involve broad, digital engagement elements.

A McDonald’s app is already under development. “We did a major test in Australia to look at the actual global application what we call the global app, which is built upon our new-path technology system and allows us to continue to add on different applications to support various needs from pay and order to other things such as music,” Thompson said.

“That global app will be launched in 2015 with some of the promotional offers in the U.S. and we will continue expanding the already established mobile applications that we have in some of the markets outside of the U.S.”

Casual Dining’s Cyclical Burger Love

Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant this week became the latest casual-dining chain to rediscover that highly customizable, moderately priced menu favorite, the burger.

The chain’s new “#RBurgerLove” menu includes six builds:

Rock Bottom's Smokin Jalapeno Burger

Rock Bottom’s Smokin Jalapeno Burger

  • Ale Yeah Burger: A Certified Angus Beef (CAB) patty basted with house ale and served with sautéed poblano peppers, lettuce, tomato and jalapeño cream cheese spread on a buttery toasted brioche bun ($12.95, although all prices may vary by market).
  • Chili Cheddar Burger: House-made beef brisket chili on a CAB patty with two helpings of sharp Cheddar cheese and crispy friend onion strings; served on a grilled onion bun ($12.95).
  • Smokin Jalapeño Burger:  A CAB patty with fresh jalapeños, jalapeño butter, pepper-Jack cheese and chipotle mayo; served on with lettuce on the toasted brioche bun ($11.95)
  • Bison Prairie Burger: A seasoned bison patty smash-griddled and topped with sautéed poblano peppers and mushroom, pepper-Jack cheese, pico de gallo and chipotle mayo on the toasted brioche bun ($13.95)
  • Smashed & Stacked: Two CAB patties griddle-fried and then stacked with Rock Bottom signature pub sauce, shaved pickles and Cheddar; served on the toasted brioche bun ($11.95).
  • BBQ Brisket Stuffed Burger: BBQ beef brisket shredded and stuffed into a premium beef patty, topped with smoked Gouda cheese, lettuce and tomato; served on a grilled onion bun ($13.95). Click here to continue reading Casual Dining’s Cyclical Burger Love

Qdoba’s Gamble on All-Inclusive Pricing

How do you set your brand apart in a tough, competitive marketplace? Mexican fast-casual chain Qdoba is finding that the concept “No charge” can help. It’s a discovery from which burger concepts that charge for add-ons also can learn.

Qdoba_FreeFlavorLast month, the chain, owned by Jack in the Box, announced a new simplified pricing structure. Essentially all entrees are $7.80 or $8.40 depending on protein selected. That’s a bit higher than previous entry prices, but now customers can add on as many additional components—including house-made guacamole, 3-Cheese Queso, Queso Diablo and others–as they want without additional cost. It was a gamble, but “it was really important that as we tried to differentiate the brand we didn’t just differentiate it with the food but also differentiated it in the way we provide the service,” Jack in the Box Chairman, President and CEO Lenny Comma told analysts this week.

Qdoba_Queso“Our guests told us that they hated being nickeled and dimed for add-ons and upgrades and they have responded favorably to the new pricing structure,” Comma said. This pricing model not only simplifies service it also creates a more upbeat experience for crew as well as customers.

“If you can imagine going down at Qdoba line and having the service provider have to tell you, with all the different things that you wanted to add to your meal that that was going to be extra, what it created was this tension between the guest service person and the consumer where there was stress from our employees as they kept having to nickel and dime the consumer,” he said. “As a result of that, we are we are seeing, at least qualitatively, that the consumers are quite pleased with the guest service and the change. It’s just much simpler and it’s much more focused on a quality meal.”

Initially, Qdoba saw some resistance from consumers who focused on the higher-priced starting price points, but that was expected, Comma said. “We hypothesized that as folks started to experience burritos with guacamole and with Queso Diablo and those types of things, grilled vegetables, that the finished product would bring them back and that essentially they would in their minds develop a new consumer value proposition that says essentially, this food is way better and its worth a little bit more.” Consumers also like the predictability of the new pricing model, he said.

Qdoba didn’t rejigger its pricing model because sales were slow. On the contrary, it has performed better than sibling Jack in the Box in the past year. Same-store sales rose 5.7% for its fiscal year at company-owned Qdoba stores, compared with 2% for company Jack in the Box.

Qdoba has marketed its new pricing approach primarily through digital media (using the hashtag #FreeYourFlavor) and Comma coined a new social-media-influenced term when he told analysts that the chain has “some exciting new items we are launching in a few weeks that we think will be instantly Instagrammable.”

Five Burger Trends to Watch in 2015

Last year BurgerBusiness.com forecast a Year of Fresh with vegetables and herbs emerging as popular toppings. We didn’t wait longer than February for that to be borne out: Burger Boss in Evergreen Park, Ill., made the French Cauliflower Melt its burger of the month. So I’ll say I was good on that forecast.

2015 could be the Year of the Cheeseburger because of, not in spite of, higher beef prices.

2015 could be the Year of the Cheeseburger because of, not in spite of, higher beef prices.

But I missed on hot dogs. Hot dogs were everywhere on menus this year, from Sonic’s Cheesy Bread Dogs and Chili Cheese Pretzel Dogs to Carl’s Jr.’s Jumbo Chili Dogs. Indies like Crow Burger Kitchen in Newport Beach, Calif., and Grill ’Em All in Alhambra, Calif., are topping burgers with grilled hot dogs.

What I also didn’t see coming was the crazily rapid rise of menu crowd sourcing. It seems every independent burger bar now has asks customers to dream up the burger of the month or some other special. McDonald’s has successfully run its “My Burger” promotion across Europe. Have burger joints run out of ideas? No, I think the “create our next LTO” trend is about customer engagement, and that’s always good.

So how about 2015? I think these five trends are worth watching:

The Year of the Cheeseburger: Not the cheeseburger with bacon, arugula, aïoli, sambal and onion rings. Just a good ol’ Cheeseburger, where the quality of good beef reclaims the spotlight. Does that mean over-the-top burgers are passé? Certainly not! They’re fun and delicious. But sometimes simple is best. Sometimes what’s wanted is a good burger. Burger joints and their customers will rediscover simple in 2015. That first entry on most burger joint menus, sometimes called the Original or the Classic or just Cheeseburger, gets in the game again in 2015. Click here to continue reading Five Burger Trends to Watch in 2015

Burger Traffic Dips in Q3

McD_Customer.350Customer traffic for quick-service burger restaurants declined 3% during the summer months of Q3, a normally busy time for the segment. The NPD Group says overall restaurant industry traffic was flat during July, August and September.

However, customer traffic was up a robust 8% (compared with a year ago) at fast-casual concepts during the quarter. Mexican QSRs and coffee/doughnut/bagel concepts each posted strong 5% increases in visits.

Asian QSRs and sandwich concepts (such as Subway and Arby’s) each were down 1% in customer traffic in Q3.

Spending was up 3% due to higher menu prices that increased average checks. NPD did not provide a Q3 average check figure but it was $6.67 in Q2. Perhaps because overall customer traffic remains sluggish, the share of visits that involved some sort of discount or deal increased 4%.

Research: Casual Dining’s Emotional Detachment

Casual-dining restaurants have encountered more than their share of difficulties recovering from the recession. Onetime category leader Red Lobster’s rapid decline is the most obvious example. But a new study from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) says casual-dining restaurant (CDR) brands can rescue themselves. While it concludes that economic indicators and dining trends “suggest that the tide for most CDRs will continue to recede,” it is “premature to write off the CDR segment as having lost its relevance.”

The report, “Casual Dining: How Brands Can Pivot from Irrelevance to Growth,” was written by BCG’s Tom Lutz, Dylan Bolden, Keith Melker and Mary Martin. It sees the CDR segment as being “at another historical inflection point, with older brands that have not maintained their differentiation fading and newer players rising to take their places.” Casual concepts have been hit by a number of marketplace shifts, including the health & wellness trend’s emphasis on fresh, high-quality ingredients (to which CDRs are slowly responding); the growth of breakfast , which most CDRs do not offer; time-constrained lifestyles that benefit faster service models; and CDRs’ inefficiency in converting first-time guests to repeat customers (a 6.5% conversion rate, compared with 15% for quick-service and 18% for fast casual).


And while 23% of CDR visits come from Millennials, BCG’s report says that age group chooses quick-service restaurants (QSRs) or fast-casuals (FCs) more often. Click here to continue reading Research: Casual Dining’s Emotional Detachment

‘Berry Kristmush’ from Burger King!

BK_Japan_KristmushBurger King in Japan is wishing everyone a “Berry Kristmush.” That’s the culture-mashing message accompanying the chain’s new holiday menu that begins November 17.

One offering is the unfortunately named Mush’n’Cheese burger. Luckily that topping is chopped mushrooms, not mush, plus cheese. It’s priced at ¥480 (US$4.15).

Then there’s the Premium Berry burger, topped with bacon, lettuce, tomato…and cranberries. A la carte it’s ¥590 or US$5.10.

Burger King Japan has a proud history of outlandish holiday menus, including the NY Pizza Burger in 2010. That was followed by the Pizza-Size Burgers in 2011.

Neil Perry Gives Australia a ‘People’s Burger’

Acclaimed Australian chef-restaurateur Neil Perry has opened Burger Project, a new Sydney burger bar that appears to raise the bar for celebrity-chef burger pomposity.

The Australian burger of Neil Perry's dreams: Beef, lettuce, tomato, onions, bacon and cheese and sauce that isn't mayonnaise.

The Australian burger of Neil Perry’s dreams: Beef, lettuce, tomato, onions, bacon and cheese and sauce that isn’t mayonnaise.

The bar menu at Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill is famed for its AU$24 (US$21) Wagyu beef burger with bacon, Gruyère cheese and Zuni pickle. You know it’s famous because the Burger Project site calls it “one of the world’s great gourmet burgers.” For the 100-seat Burger Project, Perry has made the burger more affordable, even labeling it “the people’s burger.” In place of Wagyu is 36-month grass-fed Cape Grim beef chuck and brisket ground in-house. Served with onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and a “secret sauce,” the basic burger is a people-friendly AU$7.90 (US$6.90). A Double Is AU$12.90

Also are available are The Korean (with kimchi, onion, lettuce and spicy Korean dressing for AU$8.90), a Spicy Pork Belly (crispy free-range pork belly with salted chill, pickles, pickled slaw and lettuce for AU$9.90). For non-meat eaters, a Magic Mushrooms burger has grilled confit mushrooms, cheese, onion, pickles, tomato, lettuce and the secret sauce. Pork and chicken hot dogs and crispy chicken wings also offered.

In an online review for ConcretePlayground, Kara Jensen-Mackinnon applauded Burger Project’s decision to serve its burgers in “crisp white paper bags” on trays. “They’re not those shameful late night American style burgers that are currently trending in Sydney,” she sniffed with appropriate culinary xenophobia. Click here to continue reading Neil Perry Gives Australia a ‘People’s Burger’