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 Juicy Lucy Sliders with Wisconsin Provolone and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto shown below!


Better Bacon Means Better Burgers

Go to the JONES FARM RECIPE PAGE to get the Bacon Stuffed Cheeseburger recipe for April.

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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McDonald’s McCafé Campaign Blends Ads/TV

McDonald’s is running an interesting campaign in the UK for McCafé that is both gentle branding effort and women-targeted marketing together in one clever media buy.

McD_UK_McCafeMoments2“McCafé Moments” are 30-second commercials that air during Channel 4 programming. Each features a small group of real people, most often women, who discuss events in the show the commercial interrupts. For example, in the most recent spot, airing during “The Island with Bear Grylls,” Daniela, Lauren and Genevieve discuss what they would do if they encountered a snake on an island, the predicament just featured in the program before the commercial break.

Spots begin and end with “McCafé Moment” signs and the women are clearly drinking from McCafé cups but the brand connection is no harder. The campaign is the joint work of creative shop The Outfit, media planner/buyer OMD UK and Channel 4, which provided the agency with advance access to programming content in order to point discussions in the proper directions. One spot features three male tree surgeons talking in a truck but the others have all-female casts, including several featuring a pair of twins, Hayley and Jenny, chatting on topics such as their dream homes over coffee in a McDonald’s.

“This ground-breaking partnership between McDonald’s, Channel 4 and OMD UK uses a format people know and love, weaving ‘McCafé Moments’ into the fabric of television,” Jess Roberts, OMD UK managing partner told Britain’s Lunch Business magazine.

Campaign says the campaign owes a debt to Gogglebox, a Channel 4 show in which real people in their homes watch and comment on other TV programs. But it also recalls “Girlfriends at Wendy’s Eating Salad and Talking About Stuff,” a video series that ran last year for Wendy’s Canada, created by agency MacLaren McCann. It was a little like Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” but with salads. The videos featured two women casually talking about what to wear, who to date and more while enjoying Wendy’s salads. In both the U.S. and Canada, the chain now is letting spokeswoman “Red” promote the salad line.

Look for McDonald’s to launch women-focused McCafé marketing here as the sub-brand expands. Muffins are now available in Chicago and spreading through other markets. Mini cinnamon and chocolate Bundt cakes are in Los Angeles and the chain will be expanding its pastry lineup later this year.

McCafé – Twins on their dream homes from The Outfit on Vimeo

A&W Gets Meaty with Deli Burger

A&W Restaurants will bring a little attitude to its menu when it unveils a new Deli Burger that’s topped with sliced pastrami, mushrooms, onion and Swiss cheese on a double burger. The chain says the burger arrives on April 13.

A&W Deli BurgerA TV spot labels this creation, “The greatest thing since sliced meat.” The brand’s advertising is handled by Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions in Lexington, Ky., where A&W moved after it was spun off to franchisees by Louisville-based Yum! Brands in 2011. The chain has roughly 700 locations, many of which are co-branded with former Yum! Siblings KFC and/or Long John Silver’s. A&W Canada has been a separate entity since 1972.

A&W’s signature item remains its root beer. A&W root beer has been around since 1919 and is named for founding partners Roy Allen and Frank Wright. The beverage is made in-house at A&W restaurants, sweetened with cane sugar.

The Deli Burger joins a solidly traditional menu at A&W. The third-pound double-patty Papa Burger is the featured burger. Chicken, tenders, strips and sandwiches also are on the menu. But every year or so the chain shows a bit of flash. In 2013 it was a BBQ Bacon Crunch Burger. Last year it was the Hand-Breaded Chicken Tender Texas Toast Sandwich, promoted with an even longer, 304-character hashtag: (#supertastylargeandinchargetexastoasttwohandwichmadewithdeliciousonehundredpercentwhitemeathandbreaded

Breakfast All Day? McDonald’s Operators Can Figure It Out

Few people understand McDonald’s Corp. as well as Barry Klein, who served as its director of advertising from 1969 to 1974 and is credited with creating Ronald McDonald and leading the iconic “You deserve a break today” ad campaign. After many years in advertising he now is a principal at Klein & Co., which creates consumer communications, concepts and new products for restaurants, retailers and consumer package goods companies. Barry Klein’s essay about all-day breakfast initially appeared on LinkedIn. Contact him at bkleinco@comcast.net.

To this former company guy and franchisee who still believes in the strength of an iconic brand and its operations expertise, the challenge of breakfast all day at McDonald’s should definitely be met. Why? Because consumers want it, and because it is the type of food offering change that could bring back visits the brand is losing to competition. Breakfast all day is not something that Five Guys or Smashburger or the other fast casual burger players are going to offer, and an Egg McMuffin for lunch could make McDonald’s the choice for that meal.

McD_Can_EggCookerHow to do it is the primary issue. As we’ve been told time and again, equipment capacity in McDonald’s kitchens…the fact that eggs cook at a different temperature than burgers…toasters wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand…and lots more operational stumbling blocks are in the way. But some of those problems have existed almost every time the company wanted to introduce something drastically new. Quarter Pounders took longer to cook…Filet-O-Fish sandwiches couldn’t be cooked in the french fry vats…McCafé drinks required totally new equipment. BUT THEY FIGURED IT OUT!

Sometimes it was the engineers, chefs or operations people at headquarters that developed the equipment or production methods; sometimes the operators or their store managers developed the process. An operator in Pittsburgh not only created the Big Mac, but he added scrambled eggs, sausage and pancakes to fill out the breakfast menu. That was after Ray Kroc and the Santa Barbara operator created the Egg McMuffin. With all the resources at McDonald’s command, it’s hard to believe that they won’t be able to FIGURE IT OUT.

If the company’s systems and development people are stymied, the thought here is to find a few operators who are enthusiastic about the idea of breakfast all day, and have those people introduce and work on it. It may require some menu modifications… changes in the way some items are prepared…even new or revised equipment. But consumers, for the most part, are happier with the breakfast food than the rest of the menu. And even if the concept does not provide substantial positive results, a lot will be learned from the testing.

This is one customer who will be stopping at McDonald’s more often to get a bacon and egg biscuit at 7 p.m. FIGURE IT OUT…PLEASE!

McDonald’s to Add Sirloin Third Pound Burgers

Responding to suggestions from consumers and analysts that it add something bold to its menu, McDonald’s announced it will bring back third-pound burgers. This time, however, the line is called Sirloin Third Pound burgers and the chain says it will be in stores later this month (nationwide by May 11) and available until the end of June. The NYTriState co-op isn’t waiting: it tweeted the burger’s arrival on menus this morning.

MCD12960_Sirloin_Group.tifJanney Montgomery Scott analyst Mark Kalinowski tipped the sirloin burger’s imminent launch yesterday. He suggested the build might be a Mushroom Cheddar and one of the three burgers in the line, the Steakhouse, has sautéed mushrooms (used on the Angus line) and white Cheddar along with grilled onions, a new creamy peppercorn sauce and beef seasoning.

The other two varieties are the Bacon & Cheese Sirloin Third Pound with bacon, red onion , white Cheddar, pickles, mustard, ketchup and beef seasoning, and the Lettuce & Tomato Sirloin Third Pound dressed simply with leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion, white Cheddar, pickles mayo, mustard and beef seasoning. The bun is the same that was used with Angus Third Pounders.

The new LTO burgers are priced at $4.99, putting them at the top of its pricing mix and just shy of the longstanding $5 ceiling for quick-service burgers. As reported yesterday, Wendy’s is testing a Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken sandwich at a price as high as $5.49.

Angus Third Pounder burgers had a four-year run at McDonald’s, ending in May 2013. Since then, McDonald’s has had a Double Quarter Pounders but no other big-appetite burgers.

Like McCafé, Create Your Taste customization and other ideas, sirloin was tried first and recently at McDonald’s in Australia Last October it launched a line of salads and wraps with sirloin, called rump steak in Australia. Jack in the Box offered Mini Sirloin Burgers from 2009 to 2011, but otherwise U.S. burger chains haven’t tried sirloin as a burger choice, perhaps because it is so lean.

In Spain, France and Italy, McDonald’s has been using local beef breeds–such as Extremadura, Charolais , Piedmontese and Chianina–for limited-time special burgers that accentuate the chain’s local sourcing commitment. The company says the beef for the Sirloin Third Pounders is 100% North American sourced.

Survey: McDonald’s Breakfast Ranks High

McDonald’s is testing all-day-breakfast operationally this month before it commits to expanding it, but consumer demand certainly is there. New research from YouGov BrandIndex finds that 41.8% of consumers who eat breakfast away from home at least once a month say they would consider purchasing breakfast from McDonald’s next time they are looking to eat.

McDonald's breakfast menuThat’s behind only the 48.1% who say they would choose Subway and, curiously, just ahead of the 38.8% who say they’d consider Wendy’s, which does not offer breakfast. Even with its new Biscuit Taco, Taco Bell ranks 6th with 29.4% saying it would be their breakfast choice. Chipotle, which also doesn’t serve breakfast, was the wishful choice of 22.2% of those polled. YouGov interviewed 5,000 frequent quick-service breakfast eaters over the past 14 weeks for the research. Data has a margin of error of +/- 2%.

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In other McDonald’s news, Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Mark Kalinowski says in a client note that “in the not-too-distant future, McDonald’s U.S. plans to launch a new burger. This product may or may not be a Mushroom Cheddar Sirloin Burger, according to our industry sources.” Also, the Artisan Grilled Chicken that Kalinowski tipped last week is beginning to appear in McDonald’s restaurants this week.

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Jack in the Box Jack's Blazin ChickenKalinowski also notes GrubGrade’s report that Wendy’s is testing a Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich with ghost-pepper sauce in Michigan and Maryland priced above the long-time $5 price ceiling. In Maryland, the sandwich is testing at $5.49; in Michigan at $5.29. Also testing in these markets are Ghost Pepper Fries. Another super-spicy chicken sandwich, the Jack’s Blazin’ Chicken Sandwich, is back on the Jack in the Box menu (which already has the Spicy Sriracha Burger).

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White Castle Belgian WaffleJohnny Rockets has a new burger joining the menu this week: The Memphis Chicken & Slaw BBQ Sandwich has chicken, cheese, bacon, slaw and barbecue sauce.

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Those actually-imported-from-Belgium Belgian waffles are back on the White Castle menu. They’re used for Breakfast Waffle Sliders, Chicken & Waffle Slider, Mini Belgian Waffles and new Strawberries & Cream Waffles.

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Culver’s rarely runs sweepstakes promotions but it has one beginning this week. The “Expedition Yellowstone” promo offers daily prizes of $100 Cabella’s gift cards, with a grand prize of a family vacation package at Yellowstone National Park. Ends May 3. Prize codes for entry are on medium drink cups. Now need to submit a silly video or selfie, thank goodness.

Applebee’s Reinvents Itself Once Again

Applebee’s is declaring itself new and improved with advertising breaking this week that proclaims, “We’re changing things up and going back to what we do best.” In so doing it clearly hopes to lure Millennial diners and drinkers who frequent real bars and upscale burger joints.

Applebees_ComeBackTV“If you haven’t been in a while, come on back,” exhorts the TV spot from agency Crispin, Porter + Bogusky. “Because starting now, the Bar & Grill is back.”

What the brand always has done best is to glom onto culinary trends that already are well established elsewhere–if not worn out–and its new menu continues that tradition. Brisket nachos? They’re at Applebee’s now. Sweet potato fries? Got ‘em. Something with sriracha? Try new Sriracha Shrimp. Something with the word “pub” in it? Done. Enjoy your Brew Pub Pretzels and Beer-Cheese Dip. There are no local craft beers (just national brands) but there are new cocktails such as the Fireball Whiskey Lemonade. All safely on-trend.

applebee's Kobe-Style MeatballsApplebee’s has been Millennializing its menu over the past few weeks, adding new bar foods clearly intended to cause young adults to see Applebee’s as a hip place to drink and nosh in the evening. Lunch isn’t mentioned in the new advertising, nor are families. Most of the new items are small plates divided into three categories: Shareables, Pub Plates and Bar Snacks.

Shareables are items such as potstickers. Pub Plates are larger, including Sweet Chile Brisket Sliders and Kobe-Style Meatballs (since when is “Kobe” a style?). Bar Snacks include Double Crunch Bone-In Wings, the potstickers again, battered and fried Green Bean Crispers, Churro S’mores, soups and salads. What differentiates a Pub Plate from a Bar Snack isn’t really important because items from all three categories can be mixed and matched in a Build Your Sampler (any 2 for $8; 3 for $11). Click here to continue reading Applebee’s Reinvents Itself Once Again

Burger of the Month Specials for April 2015

The April Burger of the Month specials at burger bars around the world showcase a number of trends worth noting. One is the continuing expansion of local sourcing. For the April special at The Avenue in St. Petersburg, Fla., Owner Steve Schrutt and Chef Ryan Kelly partnered with two small St. Petersburg companies to create a burger appropriately called The Local. Urban Canning Co. contributed its ginger-pickled beets as a topping while Green Bench Brewing Co. provided Surrealist IPA sour beer pickles.

The Local burger from The Avenue

The Avenue’s Local burger

Honest Burgers' April LTO

Honest Burgers’ April LTO

Many other April specials incorporate local products. For example, Yeah! Burger’s Lamb Burger LTO for April starts with local purveyor Whie Oak Pastures for the lamb. Nearby H&F Bread Co. bakes the buns.

Harissa is the next sriracha, at least on many burger bars outside the U.S. The Middle Eastern spice paste, mixed with mayo gives some heat to the April special burger at the UK’s Honest Burgers chain. Smoked bacon, house guacamole and Swiss cheese complete the build. Bangkok Burger Co. in Thailand features The Lamb Baba burger as the April LTO. It’s New Zealand lamb topped with sautéed shiitake mushrooms, h9use-made harissa sauce, Greek yogurt and jalapeňos.

Everyone like fried foods, which may explain why so many fried items are appearing as toppings for burgers. The Kuma’s Too April special, The Morgue, is a 10-oz. beef patty topped with battered and fried skirt steak fingers, along with honey-mustard aïoli, arugula, applewood-smoked bacon and pepper-Jack cheese. Grill ‘Em All’s Dimmu-Burger uses a slab of corn-dog-crusted and fried Spam as a topping (along with white truffle Cheez Whiz, mustard and house-made pickle).

But there are 45 Burger of the Month specials for April. CLICK HERE to see the complete list. As always, they offer plenty of ideas to borrow.

April Begins with Cricket Shakes and Kale Burgers

Wayback Burgers' Cricket ShakeThe Wayback Burgers chain’s announcement that it would begin offering a ‘High-Protein Cricket Shake” began as an April Fools hoax but it may become a reality thanks to unexpected consumer interest.

The Cheshire, Conn.-based announced at the beginning of the week that a blend of “premium vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and high protein cricket powder” would be part of the Brake for Shakes promotion at its roughly 100 stores from April 1 to June 30. The price for the 22-oz. shake was $4.50.

It was a joke, but enough people were ready to pony up $4.50 that the chain is looking seriously at the shake. Said Director of Marketing Gillian Maffeo, “The High Protein Cricket Milkshake was announced in order to have some fun in the spirit of April Fools’ Day. That being said, we are certainly taking some of the feedback we’ve been receiving into consideration for a line of high-protein shakes we’re developing, set to launch this summer around our Free Shake Day on June 21, as the use of cricket powder is a growing trend thanks to its protein content. It’s actually pretty good!”Carl's Jr.'s spoof kale burger

One Wayback Burgers location in East Meadow, N.Y., was briefly sampling cricket shakes on April Fools’ Day afternoon.

There were other April 1 burgers that began and ended the day as spoofs. One was the Super Kale Thickburger touted by Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. It promised “100% thick-cut kale, melted cheese and plenty of greens.”

Canadian chain The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro had fun with the Barking Up a Tree burger, made with a “100% Canadian Wild Squirrel patty, sliced tomato, pickle medallions and Barking Squirrel mayonnaise.”

South St._BurgerDockBurgers can be so “out there” these days that it’s not always easy to decide what’s a joke and what’s not. But I’m betting Red Robin isn’t really introducing the Doh! Ring Burger it tweeted. This was a double-patty burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickles on the Cronut-inspired Doh! Ring pastry.

“In our fast-paced, work-driven culture where every second counts, who can dedicate the time to holding a burger?” asks another Canadian burger chain, South St. Burger Co. It’s answer to that dilemma is The Burger Dock (above), which “holds your burger and drink conveniently in mouth’s reach to free up your hands so you can text, type, and dial while eating. To ensure your phone doesn’t die before you share your selfie on Instagram, the Burger Dock is equipped with a charging port that’s compatible with your Smartphone.” Like the cricket shake, this likely would have surprisingly many takers.

Finally, JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers in Houston announced it was dropping its 9-year old bull logo and replacing it with a cat. That had cat lovers worried about menu changes and the burger joint had to talk them down.