As the tastes and spending habits of millennials begin to re-shape the restaurant industry, one thing remains the same: Burgers continue to rank as one of the most beloved and sought-after of all menu items.
While popular chains like Five Guys and In-N-Out have dominated the fast-food scene, many local diners and even fine dining establishments have begun to add or upgrade their burger offerings to suit the tastes of their ever more knowledgeable and discriminating customers.
In a 2014 Zagat Survey, 44% of customers stated that they would be willing to pay over $25 for a “mind-blowing burger.” Those are some tempting numbers for any restaurateur. So, what is the definition of a “mind-blowing burger”? According to the same survey, it’s all about quality.
When it comes to meat, customers were very clear about what was important to them, with 84% finding it somewhat to very important to use house-ground meat and 68% feeling the same about the use of grass-fed/organic meat. 63% of survey participants considered a gourmet meat blend somewhat to very important.
Schweid & Sons 2016 Burger Trends Report found that Brioche buns were by far the most requested bread variety, with Pretzel bread steadily gaining in popularity.
In an ongoing online Ranker vote entitled “The Best Burger Toppings.” Bacon has maintained its #1 spot for over a year, with Cheddar cheese a close second, and lettuce coming in third. Ketchup, onion, and tomato round out the top six, in that order.
Taking all this information into careful consideration, the perfect burger seems to be a grass-fed Kobe/Bison house-ground patty on a lightly toasted Brioche bun topped with thick-sliced bacon, aged cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, and delightful house-made ketchup. Pickles should always be served on the side, but every gourmet burger expert knows that.
In an ever-changing industry, it can be difficult to keep up with fads and food trends, so it does warm the soul to know that some things remain eternal, like the universal love we all share for a mind-blowingly good burger.