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 Wisconsin Asiago Veggie Burger with Kale Parmesan Caesar Salad shown below!

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Better Bacon Means Better Burgers

Go to the JONES FARM RECIPE PAGE to get the Dry Aged Cherrywood Beer Burger recipe for May.

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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Victory for Veggie Burgers

Meatless burgers used to be menu negatives, offered to avoid the dreaded “veto vote” from a dining group’s  non-meat eaters. But meatless burgers now have become menu positives, present because more than just vegetarians order them.

South St. Burger Co. veggie burger

South St. Burger Co.’s Naughty Vegetarian burger topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese and bacon

“We’re carnivores at heart but people are becoming more plant-forward, especially in the last two years,” says Euripedes Pelekanos, CEO of the Bareburger chain, which offers sweet potato & wild rice, black bean and quinoa burger patties as well as beef, elk and other meats. “In New York City we have Meatless Mondays now, and I think for more and more people it’s Meatless Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”

Meatless patties’ quality has improved and acceptance has broadened to the point where Canadian chain South St. Burger Co. created the Naughty Vegetarian burger: a meat-free patty topped with bacon.

Meatless burgers’ incidence on casual-dining restaurant menus increased 89% over the past decade, according to Mintel Menu Insights research. But limited-service restaurants are belatedly catching up: menu incidence has increased 40% since 2005. Click here to continue reading Victory for Veggie Burgers

McDonald’s Explains Sirloin Burger Campaign

Word is out that McDonald’s is reviving the Hamburglar character to market its new Sirloin Third Pound burgers. But he won’t be the product’s only pitchman. In an exclusive interview with BurgerBusiness.com, McDonald’s VP-Marketing Joel Yashinsky laid out all the elements of the campaign and explained the thinking behind them.

Mx Green field for McDonald's

“New Girl” star Max Greenfield will appear in 25 TV spot for Sirloin Third Pound burgers.

Why use a children’s character to promote an adult, premium product like Sirloin Third Pound burgers?

Well, the Hamburglar is forever young. He resonates with many people of all ages. So we thought we’d have a little bit of fun. We want to show our brand as a modern, progressive burger company and there’s no better time than with the launch of a 100% sirloin burger to bring out the Hamburglar and engage in a fun way with customers.

Predictably, some sites immediately mocked the Hamburglar character and approach. Did you consider that the campaign might not be understood as fun?
No, we didn’t. We knew that for the advocates for our brand, the customers who love our brand and those who remember characters like the Hamburglar, it would be fun and engaging. That’s what we’re excited about. While there are detractors out there, we’re really engaging with the fans. We’re seeing them excited about this approach and about the new progressive thinking with the character and they’re having fun with it. We want our customers to have fun with our brand.

We’ve opened ourselves up a little bit and we think that’s absolutely right. It ties in with our “Lovin’ It” and “Lovin’” campaigns and presents this great new product that we think customers are going to love when they try it.
Click here to continue reading McDonald’s Explains Sirloin Burger Campaign

McDonald’s Kale, Bag Tray & More

McDonald's Canada's kale saladsThe McDonald’s kale rumor apparently is true. Janney analyst Mark Kalinowski reported in March that the chain was looking to add kale to its menu. Today he reported that McDonald’s will sell three new salad bowls with kale in Canada. Twitterer @McD_Truth provided the photo at right. The varieties are “I’m Greek-ing Out,” “Head Over Harvest” and “Keep Calm Caesar On.”

But Reuters’ Lisa Bartlein reports that kale is on the Arches’ menu here, too. She reports that nine Southern California units are testing two new breakfast bowls, one of which is made with turkey sausage, egg white, kale and spinach. The other has chorizo and egg. Each is priced about $4.

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McDonald’s II: During his turnaround talk, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook spoke often of the need to foster bright ideas. “We will be faster with innovation, smarter in taking risks, bolder with moves that drive transformation,” he said. Here’s an interesting idea from McDonald’s Hungary: the Bag Tray. As the TV spot from DDB Budapest shows, the top of the bag is removable, creating a tray for food.

McDonald’s BagTray from DDB Budapest on Vimeo. Click here to continue reading McDonald’s Kale, Bag Tray & More

Chinese Burger Chain Taking On NYC

While American burger concepts such as Shake Shack and Five Guys battle to win in the UK and Middle East, a Beijing-based burger concept will open its first U.S. location May 18, offering a menu created by a James Beard Award-winning American chef.

Chinese chain Uncle Sam's Signature Burger

Uncle Sam’s Signature Burger

Called Uncle Sam’s and claiming two locations in China, the concept is set to open a 5,600-square-foot restaurant at 307 Fifth Ave. in New York City, open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. The U.S. menu is the work of Bradford Thompson, now head of Bellyfull Consulting but a 2006 James Beard Foundation Award winner as Best Chef/Southwest for his work at Mary Elaine’s at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz.

His menu shows a mix of Asian and American influences. Uncle Sam’s $8.95 Signature Burger: a beef patty topped with sautéed mushrooms, oyster sauce and Swiss cheese. The menus “Classics” include a Single 4-oz.-patty beef burger for $5.95 or a Double for $7.95. Both come with choice of cheese plus ketchup and pickles. A New York-style hot dog—with choice of sauerkraut, cooked onion, mustard and ketchup—is $4.95. Click here to continue reading Chinese Burger Chain Taking On NYC

BOTM: Chorizo is the New Angus

Looking over burger joints’ Burger of the Month specials for May, it’s clear that chorizo now has become an American burger-build staple. Quietly, chorizo—primarily the crumbly, Mexican style—has become a popular burger patty mix-in choice as well as a topping. Chains promoted their use of Angus beef as a specialty a few years ago until that became commonplace. Now it’s chorizo that’s making appearances on burger menus everywhere as a special ingredient. It’s one more way to get pork onto the plate.

Slater's 50/50's beef-chorizo-blend Mayo Burger

Slater’s 50/50’s beef-chorizo-blend Mayo Burger

This month’s special at Burger Shack in Whitehall, Pa., is a Southern Burger that starts with a patty of ground beef mixed with taco seasoning that’s stuffed with Cheddar. It’s topped with more Cheddar plus guacamole and then chorizo. Slater’s 50/50 locations in Southern California have a “Mayo” Burger for Mayo. The patty is 50% Brandt beef, 50% chorizo and it’s topped with American cheese, an over-easy egg, hash browns, pico de gallo, guacamole and chipotle sour cream.

Chef Jose Garces’ Village Whiskey in Philadelphia uses chorizo as a topping for its El Poblano Burger special for May. Queso Qaxaca, adobo, avocado and refried beans also sit atop this burger. Rehab Burger Therapy in Scottsdale, Ariz., now offers a beef/chorizo-blend patty on any its burgers.

Burger 21's Gruyere Burger

Burger 21’s Gruyere Burger

Of course, one signal that chorizo was mainstreaming was McDonald’s recent test of a Chorizo Burrito (which was really chorizo-spiced chicken instead of pork) in many markets. And bagel chain Bruegger’s recently added a Chorizo Jack breakfast sandwich.

And then there’s Twisted Root Burger Co. in Dallas (and other markets). For May (while it lasts) it has introduced what it calls a DORK Burger. That’s a 50% duck/50% pork patty with choice of toppings.

You may recall that one BurgerBusiness.com burger trend for 2015 was greater use of vegetables and even fruit as burger toppings. Check out the Gruyère Burger the Burger 21 chain is featuring: Certified Angus Beef with Gruyère and freshly seared asparagus, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, whole-grain honey mustard and an over-easy egg. Look, too, at The Apple Bottom Burger menued for May at Between the Bun in Greenwood, Ind. That’s a burger patty between two slices of Granny Smith apples, with smoked bacon and a house creamy Dijon drizzle. It’s happening.

As always, these are just a few of the dozens of Burger of the Month specials at burger joints for May. The complete list is here. Give a look.

McDonald’s Market-Driven Blueprint

McDonald’s Corp. President-CEO Steve Easterbrook didn’t deny his company has performed poorly recently, but far from being defensive, the turnaround blueprint he offered is based on flexing muscles the brand forgot it had. Easterbrook promised “focused firepower” that marshals McDonald’s global size, resources, consumer insights and presence in more markets than anyone else to get it back on track. The turnaround he envisions is meant to build market by market up rather than from corporate down.

“Over the last five years, the world has moved faster outside [our] business than inside. The business cannot ignore what customers are saying when the message is clear: We’re not on our game. Like I said, the numbers don’t lie,” Easterbrook said in a 23-minute video outlining the new game plan. Easterbrook promised to empower franchisees to listen and respond more quickly in order to right the listing McDonald’s brand.

McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook

CEO Steve Easterbrook outlines the new strategy in a 23-minute video.

Since the world continues to outpace McDonald’s, the questions are how long it really has to get it right and whether too much of its customer base will have been irretrievably lost even if and when it does.

Despite pledges to move and innovate more quickly. Easterbrook said McDonald’s likely won’t hold to its previously announced plan to have the Create Your Taste customization platform in as many as 2,000 U.S. stores this year. “Let’s get it right” rather than meet arbitrary goals, he said. Asked about the downsized TasteCrafted customization platform’s potential versus the full Create Your Taste, Easterbrook said “the customer will guide us” and determine which works best. But Australia will have Create Your Taste rolled out nationally by mid-summer, with advertising launching in July.
Click here to continue reading McDonald’s Market-Driven Blueprint

National Burger Month Highlights

IronHill_AlpineEvery month is burger month on this site, so I don’t really do many “May is National Burger Month” festivities. However, a few chains and restaurants do put together events for the month that merit a nod. These aren’t the May Burger of the Month specials, though: That roundup will be on the site next week. But some places have created interesting burgers for the occasion.

The perennial champ of Burger Month is the Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant chain, based in Wilmington, Del. It’s not a burger chain per se, but each May it offers a different burger on each of the month’s 31 days. That’s a lot of planning so it’s worth a look. Today’s burger is the Alpine (pictured at left) with fried onion rings, bacon, Swiss cheese and horseradish sauce. Tomorrow it will be followed by the Bacon Lover’s Burger with tomato-bacon jam, applewood-smoked bacon, bacon aïoli and smoked Gouda. You can check the whole month’s lineup here. Click here to continue reading National Burger Month Highlights

McDonald’s Tests Smaller TasteCrafted Platform

McDonald’s Corp. already is testing a smaller, cheaper and more drive-thru-friendly version of the Create Your Taste customization platform that has been touted as central to its drive to become what CEO Steve Easterbrook calls “a modern progressive burger company.”

Testing in the Central Coast of California co-op (north of Los Angeles, from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles) and a few Oregon markets (including Hillsboro), this new platform, called TasteCrafted is a streamlined version of Create Your Taste. Janney Montgomery Scott restaurant analyst Mark Kalinowski first reported the test today. He says the new version would cost far less than the $125,000 that one franchisee said the Create Your Taste platform would cost per-store and could be rolled out sooner.

It’s a 3-step ordering process. First choose quarter-pound beef, Artisan Grilled Chicken or crispy chicken as the protein. Next choose a bun (artisan roll, sesame-seed bun or potato roll). Finally pick one of four “flavors” or toppings packages: Bacon Clubhouse (bacon, sauce, onions); Pico Guacamole (guacamole, pico de gallo); Hot Jalapeňo (jalapeňo slices, spicy cheese, sauce, tomato); or Deluxe (lettuce, tomato, mayo, red onion. Click here to continue reading McDonald’s Tests Smaller TasteCrafted Platform