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. _________________

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McDonald’s Opens ‘Restaurant M’ in Japan

McDonald’s hopes to boost its image in Japan with a one-day pop-up restaurant. On July 27 in one Tokyo restaurant, the chain will feature its new Fresh Mac LTO line at a white-tablecloth sit-down meal for 20 people. The venue is being called “Restaurant M.”

As reported by Kotaku (source of the photo below) and ASCII, the elegant five-course meal begins with “Vichyssoise Mac fries” accompanied by a salad: vegetables used on the Fresh Mac (lettuce, tomato, cabbage among them) encased in gelatin. Since you’re likely still hungry, toothpicked wedges of the beef, chicken and fish patties available in the Fresh Mac line follow. These are accompanied by a variety of McDonald’s dipping sauces. Next course is a full-size Fresh Mac burger in any of the three protein varieties. Tea accompanies. Dessert is an Oreo McFlurry with berries, served in an elegant bowl, of course. Coffee will be served.

McDonald's Japan Fresh Mac meal

The one-day event promotes the new Fresh Macs but also figures into the chain’s efforts to polish a tarnished image. McDonald’s Corp.’s Japanese unit last year posted its first operating loss ($57 million) since it went public in 2001. A series of miscues, including a Chinese supplier of chicken found to have violated food-safety standards and reports of Japanese consumers finding foreign objects (in one case a tooth) in food, has seriously damaged McDonald’s reputation and sales. January 2015 sales were down 39% from the previous year. To combat the negative press, McDonald’s has created the “Mom’s Eye Project,” a focus group for mothers, and series of “open kitchen” tours to reassure consumers about cleanliness and quality.

Bastille Day Burger Tips from the French

Bastille Day is celebrated in France on July 14, commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison on this day in 1789. Since BurgerBusiness celebrates the revolution that freed burgers from their unexciting past, it seems proper on this day to learn a few actionable lessons from menus of some of the great French burger bars, of which there are many.

Big Fernand Burger Bar, Paris

Big Fernand, Paris

 #1: Know your cheeses. The French know a great deal about cheese and it shows on their burgers. I’ve never tasted, nor had I heard of “fromage Laguiole,” a cow’s milk cheese from Simmental cattle. But L’Atelier du Burger in Toulouse puts it on its Chef’s Burger (along with bacon, caramelized onion, a cooked egg, lettuce, tomato and house burger sauce). It uses Emmental, Morbier, Fourme D’Ambert (blue) and shaved Parmesan on other burgers. The West burger at Blend in Paris has four kinds of cheese. The “You Really Got Me” burger at Burger’N-Co. in Toulouse tops beef, chorizo and roasted peppers with melted Spanish Manchego cheese and finishes with a Spanish-style sauce. When Cheddar is used it’s not uncommon for the menu to say how long it has been aged. Goat cheese (often with honey) is a staple. And their good cheeses are usually cut thick, so you can taste and enjoy them, not cellophane-wrapped-cheese thin. Click here to continue reading Bastille Day Burger Tips from the French

The Week’s Most Intriguing Burgers 7/10

The creativity that drives the burger business seemingly is bottomless. The variety of ingredients included in this week’s seven intriguing burgers is striking: beer glaze, shaved fennel salad, chutney, summer squash, jalapeňo relish and more. It’s a continuing delight to cover this business.

French Connection Burger

Døgnvill Bar & Burger, Oslo, Norway
A burger topped with Brie, mango chutney and cucumber

Click here to continue reading The Week’s Most Intriguing Burgers 7/10

How Dangerous is Starbucks?

When Starbucks’ food menu was scones and muffins it easily could be dismissed as a competitive threat to quick-service and fast-casual chains. But the appearance of beef on its summer menu reaffirms just how much Starbucks has become a foodservice force with which burger and sandwich chains—and independents—must reckon.

Starbucks BBQ Brisket on Sourdough

Starbucks BBQ Brisket on Sourdough

In addition to several new snack items, Starbucks says it is adding “unique lunch and dinner options,” and its mention of dinner should set off alarms in every restaurant that caters to that daypart. Saying it is accommodating customers “who have requested a heartier sandwich,” Starbucks’ summer menu includes a BBQ Beef Brisket on Sourdough, a meaty sandwich with a fast-casual pedigree.

“The recipe was inspired by our product development team’s West Coast roots,” said Ellie Halevy, Starbucks VP- Food., in a release announcing the menu. “This sandwich was crafted with high-quality ingredients including iconic San Francisco-Style sourdough, roasted onions braised in Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock Beer and Sonoma Jack cheese, both from Northern California.” Click here to continue reading How Dangerous is Starbucks?

Dine-in Restaurant Visits Rise

Consumers increasingly are taking a seat and eating meals in restaurants rather than picking up takeout or drive-thru meals to eat elsewhere, according to new data from The NPD Group.

NPD Dine-In ChartOn-premises dining has increased for three consecutive years and continues to grow while off-premises dining has been flat or down. For the 12 months ended in May 2015, dine-in visits were up 1% and takeout/drive-thru visits remained unchanged. For calendar year 2014, dine-in traffic was up 2% and off-premises visits declined by 1%. Sit-down dining represented $223.4 billion in restaurant sales last year; takeout/drive-thru sales were $200.3 billion or 47.3% of the total, NPD reports.

Quick-service restaurants have driven the shift in favor of in-restaurant dining: on-premises meals were up 5% at QSRs in 2015 and are up 3% for the 12 months ended in May. Takeout/drive-thru visits were flat for that period. This tilt in favor of sit-down dining may be the result of the continued growth of fast-casual concepts.

On-premises diners spend more than takeout/drive-thru diners, NPD says, but they are not necessarily loyal to their chosen restaurants. Just 34% of in-restaurant diners call themselves loyal, while 24% say they aren’t loyal at all and 42% are in the middle (somewhat loyal). But dine-in customers are in your restaurant: Give them reasons to return.

Burger of the Month Specials for July 2015

Kooper's Tavern BBQ burger

Kooper’s Tavern’s BBQ Burger is served with Tanner’s pickles.

Burger joints increasingly are identifying their food by brand names in order to further distinguish themselves from competitors. For example, many restaurants serve Angus beef, but 5 Napkin Burger wants its customers to know that its Burger of the Month special for July, the Stay Local, is “Angus beef from Greenane Farms in Meredith, N.Y.”

Kuma's Too CORAX burger

Kuma’s Too welcomes a new neighbor.

More than a dozen of this month’s Burger of the Month specials include brand names in menu descriptions. Buckeye Beer Engine’s kielbasa for its Old Country Kielbasa Burger is from State Road Meats; Burger Revolution uses mustard made with Church Key Holy Smoke Scotch Ale on its Swiss Guard burger; and Kooper’s Tavern’s burger patty is Black Angus beef from Creekstone Farms and the pickle on the side is a Tanner’s pickle. Milwaukee Burger Company’s Picnic Burger is topped with slices of Klement’s bratwurst.

In a post last week I suggested burger joints not in direct competition collaborate with each other. Kuma’s Too in Chicago is going one better, welcoming and collaborating with a new restaurant in its neighborhood—Nando’s—even though both fight for the same dining dollar. Nando’s specialty is grilled chicken flavored with peri-peri chili sauce so Kuma’s Too is featuring a July BOTM with peri-peri aïoli, a peri-peri-marinated chicken breast, mango chutney an cilantro.

This month’s list has 56 Burger of the Month specials from around the world. That includes the Nedal′nij East burger at Corner Burger in Moscow. See them all here. There’s bound to be an idea you can use.

Dugg Burger Moves Ahead in Reverse

Dugg_Logo2Dugg Burger, which opened in February 2015 in Dallas, is a different process, not just a new brand. Reversing the standard build of piling toppings on the burger patty, Dugg Burger digs out the crown of the bun and puts chosen toppings there. Meanwhile, the burger patty finishes grilling and is topped with choice of cheese before the parts come together. BurgerBusiness.com spoke with Scott Spence, who has held marketing roles at Church’s Chicken, Taco Bell and Taco Bueno and is one of four restaurant-industry veterans (with Jeff Braunstein, Martin Hennessy and Jeremy Samson) who created the concept.

Dugg Burger sounds like it could have been one of those ideas born on a napkin at a bar where friends say, “Hey, you know what we could do…”
You know, that’s not far from what happened. There are four of us and we were all corporate guys who can’t help ourselves: We talk business all the time. We’d talk about what we’d do if we had our own place. We realized we had an idea of what we’d want to do. There came a time when two of us were in-between jobs and decided it was time to move on this idea we’d been doodling on.Dugg Burger burger

It was time to give it a shot. It was an iterative process over lunches and drinks over the years.

Did people tell you your idea wouldn’t fly or that the burger category is oversaturated?
We did hear some concerns that we might be coming into the category late. Some questioned our specializing in just one thing. But there are restaurants out there that do one thing well and have thrived.

And the burger category is by far the biggest, so we feel confident about specializing in a category this big.

Because you’re different, how do you educate customers about the process? Is it signage?
We have little signage, actually. Our whole concept is built around simplicity. Our mantra is “Simple Done Exceptional.” So we barely have a menu board. One of the four of us was in the restaurant at all times to help when it opened and now we’re at the point where a lot of customers are repeat diners.

We’ve trained our team members to explain how the concept works and, really, once customers go though the line once, they’ve got it. Click here to continue reading Dugg Burger Moves Ahead in Reverse

Four Burger Promos for Summer

Carls_Tattoo_225It can be as difficult to develop a truly new burger promotion as it is to create a new burger. But here are four promotions for July that caught my attention because they’re different and because they share the love for burgers that infuses this site. Maybe there’s an idea here adaptable for your burger joint.

This first one’s hard to duplicate, but it earns extra innovation points. Carl’s Jr. is distributing $1 off coupons in-store for its Most American Thickburger that include a temporary tattoo on the back. Peel off the plastic cover; apply the tattoo to your skin; press with a damp cloth; peel off “and instantly become more American.”

The tattoo itself is a clever play on the American theme and the burger: It’s an eagle with hot-dog wings, a burger body and potato-chip feathers (the Most American’s ingredients). Only in America.

I don’t know why more burger joints don’t pair up, like sister cities, to do promotions. The owners of The Oinkster in Los Angeles and Grill ‘Em All in Alhambra, Calif., like each other and share a fondness and an aptitude for over-the-top burgers.

The Oinkster's tribute burger

The Oinkster’s tribute to Grill ‘Em All

The Oinkster’s July Burger of the Month is its version of Grill ’Em All’s La Parka Burg: A 6-oz. Angus Beef patty topped with house-made carnitas, chimichurri, Oaxacan cheese and Doritos-crusted tomatillo slices on a brioche bun.

Grill 'Em All's tribute burger

Grill ‘Em All’s tribute to The Oinkster

And Grill ‘Em All is featuring its version of the winner of The Oinkster’s Burger Week event last month. Grill ‘Em All calls it The Oinkster’s Devourment aka The Fabulous Rougeaus with Cambazola cheese, mushroom duxelles, cherry gastrique, frizzled onion and arugula on a potato bun. Find a burger joint in another town to work with! Offer their Burger of the Month or a version of their signature burger. BurgerBusiness is, of course, a good place to find joints like yours.

JumpBurger_LockupsFridays_0615There’s an opportunity for an anniversary promotion every year. The Barley House in Concord, N.H., is celebrating its 15th and has done its share of LTOs and menu specials. So it has been inviting customers to submit their “favorite throwback menu item,” which it is featuring on the 15th of each month. April’s was the French Dip Sandwich with Swiss Cheese and Rosemary Au Jus.

Finally, TGI Fridays has launched its “Buy A Burger, Give A Burger” promotion, which allows burger gifting via social media. The receipt for any its Hand-Crafted Burgers includes a code that can be entered at the “Jump Burger” site. The customer gets a free burger offer to send to friends via social media or email. The first friend to snag it gets a free burger at TGIF.

Additionally, TGIF is expanding its burger menu on July 22. Joining in are a Smoke Stacked Burger, Jack Sliders, Sicilian Stacked Burger and a Spicy Chorizo Burger.