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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Monday Meeting: Secret Sauce, Arnold, Etc.

Burger King Chicken Fries SauceYou never know when Burger King’s mascot may show up at a sporting event or when a new item might silently materialize onto its menu. There’s a new dipping sauce for Burger King’s Chicken Fries on its menu beginning today. The flavor is a blend of honey, mustard and BBQ. It’s not a “secret menu” item but the new sauce won’t be offered. You just have to know it’s there, which you do now, and ask for it.

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Also arriving today is a new burger at Red Robin, another in its string of movie tie-ins. According to GrubGrade, the Genisys Burger owes its name if not its ingredient list to “Terminator Genisys,” which opens July 1. The burger packs a punch worthy of Arnold Schwarzenegger: jalapeňo aïoli, roasted jalapeňos, pepper-Jack cheese, bacon, tomatoes, avocado and romaine lettuce on a jalapeňo-cornmeal bun.Red Robin Genisys Burger

Red Robin likes he-man movies, if only because they invite oversize burgers. Last summer the chain had the “Hercules”-inspired Colossus Burger. The previous year it was the Berserker Burger, tied to “The Wolverine.”

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Canadian menus are in a nationalist mood. Tim Hortons has a new morning item—the Canadian Back Bacon Breakfast Sandwich—that it is promoting online with a series of “Great Canadian Moments.”

Burger King's Hot PotThis comes as McDonald’s promotes its month-long “Great Canadian Taste Adventure” menu tour of “the Flavours of Canada.” These include a Maple & Bacon Poutine (for Quebec), Cottage Country Chicken sandwich (Ontario) and, beginning June 17 through June 30, the McLobster (saluting the Atlantic provinces). Curiously, McDonald’s also is saluting Canada in Italy, also with McLobster.

Meanwhile, Canadian burger chain Triple O’s has introduced a Grilled Chicken Feta Burger with a grilled British Columbia-sourced chicken breast, tomato, iceberg lettuce, red onion slices, feta cheese and yogurt-cucumber-dill sauce.

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I can’t guess the inspiration for the Breakfast Hot Pot, now on the menu at Burger King in the UK. It has scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and cheese layered in what looks to be a plastic beverage glass.

BK’s “Summer Barbecue” entrees in the UK are a Crunch BBQ Whopper, Spicy BBQ Steakhouse burger and BBQ Jerk TenderCrisp chicken sandwich, with Nacho Cheese Bites on the side.

This Week’s Most Intriguing Burgers

This week’s aggregation of interesting burgers gathers ideas from outside the U.S. This wasn’t by design; I simply kept adding intriguing burgers through the week as I always do and then found that almost all that I liked best were foreign. There are burgers here from Canada, Scotland, Italy and England, evidencing the culinary sophistication that burger bars outside the U.S. have now. Next week they may all be from Pittsburgh. Burgers are that unpredictable. And delightful.

Fatto-Bene, Milan

Fatto-Bene, Milan, Italy
Fassona beef, Datterini tomato confit, Granny Smith apple, arugula and yogurt dressing

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Golden Arches Adds Two Top Execs

Robert GibbsMcDonald’s Corp. bolstered its executive ranks, naming two experienced executives to executive vice president posts.

Silvia Lagnado was named EVP-global chief marketing officer. The post had been vacant since the departure of Neil Golden in 2013. Global Chief Brand Officer Kevin Newell had filled in since.

Lagnado most recently served as CMO of Bacardi Limited. Earlier she held several posts at Unilever, including EVP of its Savoury business unit. She created Dove’s award-winning “Campaign for Real Beauty” initiative.

Silvia LagnadoAdditionally, Robert Gibbs joined McDonald’s Corp. as EVP-global chief communications officer, succeeding Bridget Coffing, who is retiring. Gibbs, who served as President Obama’s press secretary during his first term, most recently headed The Incite Agency, a strategic communications advisory firm.

“Robert and Silvia are both highly respected, talented leaders who will bring a wealth of experience and outside perspective to McDonald’s as we build a more modern, progressive burger company,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said in announcing the hires. “Returning excitement to our business proposition and brand is foundational to our turnaround plan, and Robert and Silvia—with their respective teams—will play critical roles in bringing this strategy to life.”

McDonald’s Tries “Signature Burger”

McDonald's Signature Burger testMcDonald’s is creating new menu items again. In selected markets the chain is trying out a “Signature Burger,” a new low-price entry that anchors what’s been rechristened the “Lovin’ Value Menu.”

The Signature Burger doesn’t bring new ingredients to the McDonald’s pantry. It combines two regular burger patties with white Cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce and creamy Dijon mustard sauce. It’s on a potato bun that’s a step up from most of the burgers on what used to be the Dollar Menu & More.

Test drive-thru menu boards don’t mention the Dollar Menu & More. Instead they promote the Lovin’ Value Menu’s “Mini Meals,” which are higher-margin combo meals involving items that were on the Dollar Menu & More. The Signature Burger is $2.49 by itself (prices may vary). But with small fries and small soft drink it tops the new Mini Meal category at $3.99. With a not-so-mini medium soft drink & fries the price is $4.69. That brings it close to the $4.99 a la carte price for the premium-tier Third Pound Sirloin burgers.

Other Mini Meal combos promoted up high on the drive-thru menu board being tried are a $3.39 McDouble Mini Meal, $2.99 Cheeseburger Mini Meal, $3.49 Double Cheeseburger Mini Meal and $2.99 McChicken Mini Meal. These items also are listed lower on the menu board at their a la carte prices (again, not with the Dollar Menu & More name), a duplication that runs counter to the menu streamlining and simplification McDonald’s says it is seeking.

Another interesting element of the Lovin’ Value Menu in test is a Classic Pack boxed meal. If you’re a longtime BurgerBusiness.com reader, you know I’ve been talking about multi-person boxed meals since McDonald’s Australia introduced the Dinner Box in 2010. It has taken five years, but the boxed multi-person meal finally seems ready for the big time in the U.S. after spreading just about everywhere else in the global McDonald’s system. As tested, the $13.99 Classic Pack has two Quarter Pounder with Cheese or two Big Macs (or mix and match) plus two medium fries, three sauces and a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets. The menu board say it “serves 4” though two young adults with hearty appetites might disagree.

In his May 4 video speech outlining the beginnings of his turnaround plan, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook promised, “Stronger insights underpinning the development of a compelling and sustainable everyday value proposition this summer to drive sales.” This “Lovin’ Value Menu” platform with its Mini Meal combos and Signature Burger certainly may be parts of that.

McDonald’s summer menu also will see the return of Frozen Strawberry Lemonade plus a new beverage: a McCafé Green Apple Smoothie.

McDonald’s “Food Icons” Sell Out

The question often is asked what McDonald’s should add to its menu to reverse its sales slide. The answer appears to be … toys.

In Hong Kong yesterday, the chain began a promotion offering little Nanoblock (akin to Lego blocks) versions of five “Food Icon” collectibles plus a McDonald’s restaurant, available with purchase of the box set containing them all. Individual toys reportedly were priced at $20HKD (about $2.50); the set went for $198HKD or $25. Before the day had ended, every last iconic one of them had sold out.

The Google translation of McDonald’s Hong Kong’s explanation on its website is, “Since the reaction is more enthusiastic than expected, which is McDonald’s Food Icons nanoblock Box Set has been sold out within a short time, would like to thank the community support, and to apologize for the inconvenience caused customer.”

Until June 11, McDonald’s Hong Kong restaurants will take orders for the set with full payment up front. The toys will be available between July 23 and Aug. 2, 2015.

McDonald's 'Food Icon' toys

Burger of the Month Specials for June 2015

Byron's Sweet Caroline burger

Byron’s Southern-inspired Sweet Caroline

Not surprisingly, several of the June Burger of the Month specials at burger bars are plays on All-American barbecue flavors. But I didn’t expect that to be so in the UK. The UK’s Byron chain features the Sweet Caroline burger “inspired by our head chef Fred’s memories of visits to the Southern States, where summer means one thing: barbecue time.” That translates to a beef patty topped with jalapeño slaw, streaky bacon and crispy potatoes.

The Puebla burger from Burgerhaus

Burgerhaus’s The Puebla

At BOBO Social in London the special is The Cowboy Burger, topped with smoky BBQ beans, house-made coleslaw with maple-cured crispy bacon and ranch dressing. For Chalk Valley in Southampton, England, the June burger special is something called the Smokey Bandit Burger. That’s a 100% grass-fed-beef patty, organic Cheddar cheese, bourbon caramelized onions and green poblano chilies.

Flipdaddy's Alex Quebec burger

Flipdaddy’s Alex Quebec

What they’re missing is that the current definition of a truly All-American burger seems to the inclusion of a hot dog. Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have their new, wiener-topped Most American Thickburger and Burgerhaus in Indianapolis has The Puebla this month. That’s a half-pound, custom-ground, fresh-never-frozen burger from Davis Creek Farms in Kalamazoo, Mich., paired with an all-beef hot dog, white Cheddar, guacamole-taquero salsa, butter lettuce, sliced tomato, and Worcestershire-braised onions on a fresh pretzel roll and served with fried tater tots. That’s American. So is the Goblin Cock burger that’s menued for June at Chicago twins Kuma’s Corner and Kuma’s Too. It includes a 10-oz. beef patty topped with a ¼-lb. hot dog, bacon, Cheddar, green relish, sport peppers, pickles, tomato, onion and celery-salt mustard. That’s Chicago.

There are several wild card burgers worth noting. One is the Alex Quebec burger at Flipdaddy’s in Cincinnati. Love the name and the burger looks good, too: a house beef blend patty with french fries, house beef gravy, Cheddar cheese and house-made onion jam, served on a pretzel bun. Another is the Born on the Bayou burger at Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood, Ohio. It starts with a char-grilled beef patty and adds two slices of American cheese, dill pickle slices, and our house-made special sauce; served on a sesame-seed-topped butter-toasted bun with Engine Chips and a fried pickle. You know Grill ‘Em All in Alhambra, Calif., has something off the wall. The “Holy Diver aka Captain Lou Albano” has lox & cream cheese, frisée, red onion, tomato, smoked-caper aïoli and a half-pound burger on a poppy-seed bun.

There are a couple dozen great burger builds on this month’s list. See them all here. Feel free, of course, to borrow a burger idea or two.

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

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