Burgers are one of consumers’ most preferred entrees, but consumption is down slightly from 2015, reveals Technomic’s newest Burger Consumer Trend Report. Customers’ burger preferences are shifting with regard to the types of burgers and toppings they want and when they want to eat them. Operators who understand these changes can draw diners back to the classic handheld. Here are four new consumer preferences for burgers at restaurants.
1. Familiar out, unique in
Preference is decreasing for some familiar burger components, including beef patties, onions, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, ketchup, mustard, and sesame seed and kaiser rolls. Consumers may be looking for less-traditional elements: Trending up are nonbeef burger patties—including turkey, stuffed burgers, pork and veggie—as well as atypical toppings like fried eggs and avocado spread or guacamole.
2. Interest in new dayparts
Burger consumption is steady in the morning and for snacks, but falling at lunch and dinner. Some 18% of consumers (compared to 16% in 2015) eat burgers for breakfast at least once a month, and 19% eat them as a midmorning snack versus 17% two years ago. Conversely, 66% of consumers eat burgers for lunch at least once a month, dropping from 71% in 2015, while 73% eat them for dinner compared to 80% two years ago.
3. The importance of toppings
This year, as in years past, consumers rank the patty as the most important attribute for a burger they order from a restaurant. However, they are increasingly prioritizing toppings. In fact, consumers ranked quality/taste of the toppings higher than price/value for the money this year, whereas those rankings were flipped in 2015. This swap indicates that consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for premium burgers with specialty toppings.
4. BYO on the downswing
While build-your-own burgers still appeal to the majority of consumers (54%), this is down from 2015 (60%). Guests may be looking for more signature offerings that can be customized if necessary rather than menus that rely too heavily on customization.