After McDonald’s announcement earlier this month that it will gradually roll out quarter-pounders made to order with fresh beef, a number of new burgers roared onto menus with as much noise as March’s proverbial lion. Chains big and small are tempting consumers with burger LTOs, unique and premium ingredients, on-trend blended burgers and value deals—all of which can beef up burger business, according to Technomic’s Burger Consumer Trend Report, powered by Ignite. Here are seven other burgers making headlines.
1. Wendy's fights back
As soon as McDonald’s broadcasted its eventual changeover to fresh beef, Wendy’s took to Twitter to remind consumers that its burgers have been fresh from the get-go. The fresh-never-frozen message was reinforced with its introduction of a $1 Double Stack with more than a quarter pound of fresh beef. This LTO launched soon after the debut of Wendy’s Smoky Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger, featuring differentiated toppings such as sauteed portabella mushrooms, applewood bacon and melted Asiago cheese.
2. Sonic goes for the blend
Signature Slingers—a blend of beef and chopped mushrooms—are Sonic’s latest entry in the burger game. The QSR’s blended burger comes adorned with a health halo, boasting fewer calories and a plant-forward spin. The Slinger is available as a classic cheeseburger for $1.99 or a bacon cheeseburger for $2.49.
3. Front and center at Capital Burger
Darden’s Capital Grille is putting burgers in the spotlight with the March 19 launch of a new concept, The Capital Burger, in Washington, D.C. The spinoff is a more casual, lower-priced restaurant serving up a limited menu of six burgers, including a house burger with caramelized onions and Gruyere. Burger prices range from $15-$17. The Capital Burger will also offer wine by the glass, craft beer, cocktails and spiked milkshakes.
4. Styled with a French twist
A mashup of a burger and a croque madame is the March special at Mon Ami Gabi, a five-unit Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises concept with a French accent. The LTO features a classic croque madame (ham, melted Jarlsberg cheese, bechamel sauce and a sunny-side up egg) paired with a burger patty and served on a brioche bun. The item is part of the restaurants’ Tuesday burger night promotion, which offers a rotating roster of burgers throughout the year.
5. Burgers wake up to breakfast
Which Wich’s new burger is technically more of a sandwich. Nevertheless, the fast-casual chain is capitalizing on the burger trend with the Cheeseburgerwich, debuting it as part of a new Eggwich line. The trio of sandwiches tout runny eggs, much like Panera Bread’s revamped breakfast sandwiches. Layered in Which Wich’s Cheeseburgerwich are sliced sirloin, smoked thick-cut bacon, American cheese, tomatoes, caramelized onions, pickles and a sunny-side up egg on a toasted baguette. The Eggwiches are available through the afternoon and evening, with ingredients that seem aimed at the all-day breakfast customer.
6. Getting into barbecue mode
The Indulgent BBQ is the new burger on the menu at Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes. Its launch is tied to spring and the semiofficial start of backyard barbecue season. Part of Mooyah’s Taste to Try lineup, the Indulgent BBQ is composed of fresh Angus beef patties, melted pepper jack cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, fried onion strings, barbecue sauce and mayo on a bun baked in-house.
7. Curating a burger collection
Family-dining chain Perkins, known as a destination for pancakes and eggs, is turning its attention to burgers this month. New on the menu are five boldly-flavored Signature Burgers, including one designed to appeal to morning diners. The Breakfast Burger consists of crispy hash browns, maple bacon, cheddar cheese and a fried egg on top of Angus beef patties. Also in the collection is a Sweet ‘N Spicy Sriracha Burger with candied jalapenos, poblano queso and smashed potato tots. The other three entries include a classic cheeseburger, a barbecue burger and a Frisco Burger served on grilled Parmesan sourdough bread.