BurgerFi launches the Better Burger Lab as an innovation pipeline

The remodeled NYC location gives guests a chance to sample and provide feedback on new menu items before they roll out systemwide.
opening day
The Better Burger Lab opened earlier this month in a remodeled BurgerFi location in NYC. | Photo by Pat Cobe.

BurgerFi unveiled its Better Burger Lab earlier this month, transforming a former New York City location into a test kitchen open to the public.

New York City is the food capital of the world and the Better Burger Lab  will be the launching pad for innovation we plan to introduce across our system,” said Carl Bachmann, CEO of BurgerFi International. “Right now, guests can try our new Fried Chicken Sandwich as a sneak peek preview only in NYC and our Breakfast Everything Bagel Burger is an exclusive NYC store product offering.”

burgerfi breakfast burger

The Everything Bagel Burger is geared to fans who crave a burger for breakfast. | Photo courtesy of BurgerFi.

The Everything Bagel Burger features an Angus beef patty with Havarti cheese, grilled onions and a cage-free fried egg served on an everything bagel with garlic and herbed Boursin cheese. To give it super-local flavor, the team purchases bagels every morning from iconic H&H Bagels across the street.

Another exclusive is the NYC Hot Dog made with American Wagyu beef topped with spicy brown mustard and sauerkraut on a pretzel bun.

chicken sandwich

BurgerFi flashes the exclusive menu items on digital screens placed around the restaurant. | Photo by Pat Cobe.

Better Burger Lab customers are also getting a first taste of BurgerFi’s new chicken sandwich, using a sous vide breast fillet than can be ordered fried or grilled. “It’s easier to execute and juicier, and the fried version is hand-battered and breaded,” said Bachmann. “We’re partnering with Frank’s Red Hot to offer a spicier version, too.”

The Prime Rib Burger is also available at the flagship. The build includes an Angus beef patty layered with grilled onions, melted American cheese and French onion dip, then topped with au jus-dipped roast beef and creamy horseradish sauce. The menu here includes a Grilled Chicken Salad and NYC-only wing flavors such as Ghost Pepper Honey and Lemon Pepper as well. The brand is betting that Manhattanites like to heat things up.

prime rib burger

The Prime Rib Burger is extra-meaty, topped with au jus roast beef. | Photo courtesy of BurgerFi.

BurgerFi’s V-Fi-P loyalty club members will be invited to tasting events at this Upper East Side store and have a chance to sample new products and provide feedback in real time—even getting involved in R&D by suggesting new flavor and ingredient combos.   


Eye-catching wallpaper in the new space amplifies the menu's roots. | Photo by Pat Cobe.

Menu upgrades were happening at BurgerFi before this location was remodeled and relaunched as the Better Burger Lab, said Bachmann. The 108-unit chain put quality and flavor on the front burner, starting by improving the specs for its beef and bun.  Bachmann, who was previously president of rival fast casual, Smashburger, confirmed that BurgerFi had lost some cachet and market share over the years. “It was not due to one bad decision, but more like death by 1,000 cuts,” he said. “Now, with the Better Burger Lab, we want to bring back what made it great. Brands have to innovate or die.”

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