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The State of the Burger Market, 2014

Filed under Business, Research

CHD_1.6 burger restLooking for a burger restaurant? You’ll have the best luck in California or Mississippi. California has the largest number of burger joints; 11.72% of all Mississippi restaurants are burger-menu spots, highest share in the U.S. And if you want an independent burger spot rather than a chain location, your best bet is Washington, where 26.61% of burger restaurants are indies, highest in the U.S.

Chicago-based CHD Expert—a global company specializing in collecting, managing and analyzing foodservice industry data—has shared with research that provides unique insight into the size and makeup (as of June 2014) of the U.S. burger-menu-restaurant business. Among its findings:

The U.S. burger market is a $73 billion business.

  • The average annual unit sales for burger-menu restaurants is $1,488,448 according to its research.

CHD Expert categorizes more than 49,000 U.S. restaurants as burger joints. Of them, 13.89% are independent and 86.11% are a part of a chain, which CHD defines as having 10 or more units.

  • There are roughly 1.6 burger restaurants for every 10,000 Americans.
  • “Burgers” is the fourth-most-popular menu type in the U.S. in terms of number of locations.

Burger joints account for 7.4% of all U.S. restaurants nationally. In Mississippi, however, they represent of 11.72% of all the state’s restaurants.

  • The others among the top five in burger market share are New Mexico (11.62% of the state’s restaurants), Alabama (11.44%), Kentucky (11.36%) and Oklahoma (11.03%).

Washington has the highest percentage (26.61%) of independent burger locations.McD_Customer_TBWA2. jpg

  • Rounding out the top five for independents’ market share are California (26.32% independent); Alaska (25.68%; Hawaii (25.54%); and Washington, D.C. (22.62%).

California has the highest number of burger restaurants (6,104; 26.32% independent).

  • The others among the top five are Texas (5,553; 19.9%); Florida (2,728; 11.66%); Ohio (1,850; 5.95%); and Illinois (1,846; 10.94%).

McDonald’s, of course, is the largest chain, boasting a 34.3% share of the burger market.

  • Burger King is No. 2 according to CHD Expert’s data, with 15.4% of the market. It’s followed by Wendy’s (13.9%) and Sonic Drive-Ins (8.2%).

About 8.7% of the total, or 4,250 burger restaurants, are classified as “fast casual” by CHD Expert. As it includes the upscale burger bars that have proliferated in the last decade, the fast-casual segment’s share of independents (45.14%) is much larger than for the overall market (13.89%)