The Business of Burgers

It’s a take-away favourite that comes in many varieties – chicken, beef, cheese, or Hawaiian to name but a few.


The Business of Burgers

Franchise news reports that many are not content to leave the humble burger be, believing that variety is the spice of life, and US burger chains are taking to tinkering with the tried and tested recipe of it’s great success.

Evolution of the burger

Beef production is hugely resource intensive and its price is on the rise, meanwhile the evils of red meat and the risks it poses to your arteries and little Johnny’s statistically inevitable obesity has nutrition experts pushing us to consume a diet high in fruit, veg and unrefined carbohydrates.

So to keep the customers steaming in, restaurants are offering experimental, healthier and premium burger-topping options. While the large burger chains aren’t going anywhere, smaller burger joints are experiencing rapid growth, and consequently as are burger varieties.

Smashburger franchise tradition dictates a signature burger is invented each time it enters a new market – the latest being “The Capital Burger”, a bacon and rocket-topped creation on a brioche bun to mark the brand’s expansion into Washington DC. It also has a healthy vegetarian black-bean option. Veggie burgers and turkey burgers are also gaining traction in the quest for a healthy burger option.

Experimental burgers

Some burger experiments leave a lot to be desired for South African tastes though: The US love affair with peanut butter and jelly sarmies has morphed into a burger incarnation of Peanut Butter-Pickle-Bacon Burger at Killer Burger in Oregon, and a burger topped with peanut butter, bacon, fried egg and cheese is available at Beer Bistro in Chicago.

On a more pleasant note, Asian inspired burgers made from shitake mushrooms or with a spicy Thai sauce offer more exotic options, while a confectionary burger has been developed at River City Café in South Carolina consisting of peanut butter, marshmellow, Nutella and biscuit.

So while it may be some time before South Africans start ordering peanut butter burgers, trends suggest that there’s a market for innovative (albeit experimental) burger options.

Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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