When asked in which ways they would like to create more distinctive burgers for their menu, operators most often pointed to the cheeses, breads, toppings, sauces, and beef / proteins used.
While Kobe and Angus burgers are growing fastest, other meat options are also making a move.
“Steak” burgers are on the uptick, with a 44% increase in penetration over the past 3 years.
Meatless options – Gardenburger™, soy burgers, and veggie patties – have grown 28%, while turkey burgers are up 14%. Look for more "homemade" veggie burgers on the menu. Locally Big Sur River Inn, and the LALLAgrill have been making thier own veggie burgers.
Burgers marketed as sirloin, however, have remained mostly flat. Interestingly, though, sirloin burgers are among the most expensive found in restaurants today as such, we may potentially see them grow in the coming years as the “upscaling” trend continues.
Consider the fastest growing burger cheeses over the past 3 years specialty / non-traditional burger cheeses dominate the top of the list.
Even in aggregate, specialty cheeses – defined here as any variety other than cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, American, provolone, or jack – are growing very fast.
Bleu cheese burgers in particular have become far more prevalent in recent years in several segments, exploding most notably among QSR and Midscale restaurants.
Pepperjack has also boomed, fueled largely by strong adoption by major chains like Wendy’s and Hardee’s. This, in turn, has facilitated rapid proliferation throughout the QSR segment.
Applewood-smoked bacon and chipotle are among the fastest growing burger toppings, each having grown over 200% over the past 3 years. Hormel offers a fantastic jalapeno bacon that-it is rumored- Thresher Rolle purchasing and logistics coordinator at the Ranch Club at the Santa Lucia Preserve keeps in his storeroom and snacks on all day long.
Caramelized onions are another growth area, along with garlic, Cajun spices, and jalapenos.
BBQ sauce, long a burger mainstay, is also popping – with notable growth rates across all restaurant segments. Check out Willy's Smokehouse's assortment of BBQ sauces served on the table to customize your burger to your liking.