Burgerville LTOs strong on sustainability

Local, fresh and seasonal are the sourcing mantras at this 40-unit Northwest regional concept. So when the R&D team decided to revamp last year’s grilled salmon sandwich for this year’s fall LTO, they partnered with a new sustainable supplier to source the fish. They changed up the bun and sauce, too. “The salmon struck a chord with customers, but we wanted to bring it back with new sourcing,” says Jeff Harvey, CEO of Burgerville.

Specs and seasoning

Purveyor: Odyssey Seafood out of Seattle is supplying Burgerville with Alaskan MSC (Marine Stewardship Council certified) wild-caught Coho salmon.

Size: Each sandwich is portioned with a 3-ounce fillet.

Saucing options: The sandwich is lightly slathered with a Lemon Herb Aioli made in-house with fresh lemon juice and cilantro. Last year’s tartar sauce went by the wayside, as did a garlic aioli and dill mayo. “We didn’t want to cover the great flavor of the salmon,” reiterates Harvey.

Flavor: The goal: Keep the seasonings simple so the salmon can speak for itself. The fillets are seasoned with salt, pepper and cilantro, then grilled on the flattop and sandwiched with lettuce and tomato. Also evaluated but rejected: A Cajun flavor profile.

On the side: Sweet Potato Fries—another current seasonal LTO—also boast Northwest roots. Burgerville worked directly with processor Lamb Weston to identify local sweet potato farms; the latter is sourcing raw product from Eastern Washington to produce the fries.

The bun: Last year, the bun came from Portland French, a partner of regular supplier, Franz. The 2011 Wild Coho Salmon Sandwich uses a white pub bun from Franz that “meets our flavor and cost profile. It allows the salmon flavor to come through.”

LTO challenges

“We have a cost profile for which we evaluate our LTOs,” explains Harvey. “This year, we changed the bun, switched from frisee to lettuce and used cilantro instead of parsley.” These decisions were made to streamline ingredients; Burgerville already buys lettuce and their fresh salsa uses cilantro.

When you commit to local, fresh ingredients, supply determines the length of the LTO. Guests have to be trained to accept these limitations.

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