Familiar ingredients such as lettuce and tomato will always have a place on top of burgers, but in today’s super-competitive better-burger market, it’s crucial for operators to offer a selection of distinctive toppings.
From specialty cheeses and meats to such add-ons as tobacco onions, fig jam or fried eggs, innovative toppings and condiments add flavor, texture and value to burgers, allowing operators to create unique and craveable menu signatures. They also a natural fit with build-your-own programs that address the hotter-than-hot customization trend.
And unique toppings and condiments also support premium pricing—patrons are looking for more options, according to Technomic’s 2015 Burger Consumer Trend Report, and they’re willing to pay extra for a burger topped exactly the way they want.
Whether the burger’s made with beef, turkey, pork or even black beans, here are some trending topping options:
- Hot stuff: Pepper jack cheese, specialty hot sauce (such as Sriracha), sauerkraut
- Upgraded standards: Spring mix, slow-roasted tomatoes, Vidalia onions, aged cheddar
- Premium proteins: Pork belly, cured meats such as pancetta and applewood-smoked bacon, a fried egg
- Specialty cheeses: From full-flavored blues and cheddars to luxurious fresh and triple-cream cheeses
- High-impact vegetables: Avocado, sauteed mushrooms, arugula, coleslaw, fried onion straws, artisanal pickles
- Top-shelf sauces: Pesto and aioli, tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt spread), flavored mustard and mayo, savory jams, hummus
- Ethnic inspired: Korean (gochujang sauce and kimchi), Greek (feta and spinach), Southern (pimiento cheese and pulled pork)
Here's a look at innovative burger offerings on menus today:
Hopdoddy, 16 locations, Austin, Texas-based
Primetime: Brie, arugula, caramelized onions, truffled aioli, and steak sauce
Bulldog Tavern at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
BBQ Burger: BBQ Sauce, fried onion ring, lettuce, tomato and pickle
The Vortex, Atlanta
Blue ‘Shroom: Blue cheese spread, sautéed mushrooms, and bacon.
Alfred University, Alfred, N.Y.
Asian Twist Mandarin Beef Burger: Mandarin orange dressing, chiffonade scallions and orange peel, deep-fried spring roll rice wrapper, cucumber pickle salad
This post is sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board