Defying rising beef costs, burgers continue heating up at concepts across the U.S. And burger-focused restaurants are gaining a bigger share of the industry, with approximately 1.6 burger restaurants for every 10,000 Americans, according to foodservice data and analytics firm CHD Expert.
In 2014, independent burger concepts grew in unit numbers by 6.7 percent, while burger chains showed limited growth, CHD Expert says. In addition, nearly half of U.S. burger chains are fast-casual concepts, such as Shake Shack and Five Guys.
In recent months, burger offerings have helped casual-dining restaurants increase lunch visits by 2 percent, according to market-research company The NPD Group. Additionally, burgers’ flexibility and easy customization can be a win with customers, many of whom say it’s important to them to be able to tailor burger toppings and condiments.
“Americans visit hamburger restaurants en masse and have turned many of the top burger restaurants into household names,” said Brad Bloom, vice president of sales and marketing for CHD Expert’s Americas division. “As this landscape continues to expand, new opportunities for generating profitability begin to present themselves. … Each new trend represents a new opportunity for growth, be it with a new start-up concept restaurant or an established chain.”