Fast-casual burger variations add sizzle
In the hotly competitive fast casual burger playing field, innovation is one of the ways operators can set themselves apart. Here are three ways to ramp up the craveability factor and boost burger sales.
Focus on LTOs
Burgers of the month are a good move to shake up the menu and win new fans. Hopdoddy Burger Bar, with 18 locations in the Southwest, last month featured the Doddy Dip, inspired by classic French dip sandwiches. The LTO featured an Angus beef patty with thinly sliced roast beef, horseradish mayonnaise, caramelized onions and provolone cheese and was served with homemade au jus.
Umami Burger does the monthly burger one better with its Artist Series, where they collaborate with a celebrity on a limited-time burger and donate a part of the proceeds to the celebrity’s pet cause.
The latest, issuing from the imagination of supermodel and businesswoman Cindy Crawford, is a Baja-inspired take on the classic burger: two jalapeno studded beef patties topped with miso-mustard, avocado, tomato, lettuce, American cheese, Umami house spread, onions, queso fresco and tortilla chips tossed in salsa brava.
Play up unique flavors and textures
Layering flavors and textures amps up the personality and craveability of a burger. One notable crunchy variation is the Bacon Crunchburger served at Bobby Flay Burgers. The signature crunch comes from potato chips, listed as a complimentary option for any burger on the menu. Guests can choose from beef, turkey or chicken burgers.
Good Stuff Eatery, with five locations in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Saudi Arabia, tops its Prez Obama beef burger with applewood-smoked bacon, onion marmalade, roquefort cheese and horseradish mayo, served on a potato roll.
Zombie Burger, a small Iowa-based chain, specializes in burgers that pay homage to zombie movies and television shows. The Undead Elvis burger piles on peanut butter, fried bananas, bacon, American cheese, egg and mayonnaise with one, two or three quarter-pound patties.
Bring on breakfast
Trending on menus across segments, breakfast flavors are a natural fit for burgers any time of day. Operators can experiment with carriers, such as a Maple Pancake Bacon Cheeseburger, which features pancakes instead of the traditional bun.
Globally inspired breakfast flavors are another on-trend way to bring a unique spin to burger offerings. Try creating an Eggs Florentine-inspired burger, with garlic, tomato and eggs, or a Huevos Rancheros burger featuring guacamole, cilantro and salsa.