Cinnamon on a burger. I hadn’t considered it, but two burger spots—Kuma’s Too and Milwaukee Burger Co.—create Burgers of the Month for October that work cinnamon into their builds. Check them out. Not surprisingly there are a few Oktoberfest burgers among the monthly specials, but several joints—Grill ‘Em All and Kuma’s Corner among them—that peg specials to Halloween. By the way, Grill ‘Em All surely is the first to top a burger with a “savory pumpkin-sage polenta cake.” It might be the only place that would do that, which is why its customers love it.
Honest Burgers’ Beef & Black Pudding Burger
On the topic of nontraditional toppings, this month we welcome London’s Honest Burgers. Its special this month is a Beef & Black Pudding burger with apple tempura, tarragon-and-caper mayonnaise and baby leaf lettuce. That’s not on your menu. Note, too, that athletes get LTO burgers at two spots: brb’s RGIII burger (for the Redskins QB) and DMK Burger Bar’s The Kaner (Blackhawks star Patrick Kane). The Oinkster salutes “Parks And Recreation” star Nick Offerman with a ham-topped burger. And Slater’s 50/50 stands apart from the crowd again with a Korean-inspired Bulgogi Burger.
October Burger of the Month specials:
5 Star Burgers, multiple locations, Southwest
Harris Ranch beef burger with Swiss cheese and IPA Ale-braised onions.
8 Oz. Burger Bar, Seattle
House-blend patty, roasted-garlic tomatoes, shaved prosciutto, mozzarella, basil pesto with an over-easy egg.
A&G Burger Joint, Miami
Angus beef patty basted with our house-made fire buffalo sauce, built with pepper-Jack cheese, jalapeños, lettuce tomato and red onion. Served on a brioche bun with chipotle mayo.
BGR: The Burger Joint, multiple locations
BGR Legendary burger topped with Muenster cheese, bratwurst, sauerkraut and mustard-ale sauce all on a pretzel bun
Burger 21′s Over Easy Bacon Cheesy
Blue Moon Burgers, Seattle
The Sloppy Joe
We take our premium beef, fresh onion, red & green bell peppers and cook them together to bring you the Sloppiest of Joes!
Bobby’s Burger Palace, multiple locations
Tomato-chipotle salsa, nacho cheese sauce, pickled jalapeňos, blue corn chips
brb: Be Right Burger, Reston, Va.
Angus burger topped with Swiss cheese, shaved ham and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
Buckeye Beer Engine, Lakewood, Ohio
Tadd’s Thai Bang-Bang Burger ($9)
A half pound burger patty topped with a Thai peanut sauce, red and green bell peppers, bean sprouts,and fresh jalapeňo slices. Served with a breaded pickle and Beer Engine chips.
Burger 21, multiple locations
Over Easy Bacon Cheesy
The Over Easy Bacon Cheesy takes our beefy Bacon Cheesy up a notch with a freshly made over-easy egg, avocado slices and Dijon-chive mayo.
Click here to continue reading Burgers of the Month for October 2013
[As predicted, Wendy's introduced the Pretzel Pub Chicken on Oct. 1. Go here for details.]
Around its Dublin, Ohio, headquarters, Wendy’s is offering a new Pretzel Pub Chicken sandwich, a limited-time offering (LTO) that is expected to be introduced systemwide as early as this week. The build includes a chicken patty, Muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato, cheese sauce and honey-mustard sauce all served on the pretzel bun introduced in July with the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger. The premium-tier item is priced at about $4.79 a la carte.
And when that LTO has run its course, sources say Wendy’s could roll out a Spicy Santa Fe Burger with pepper-jack cheese and guacamole on a Cheddar-jalapeňo bun.
Source: Kantar Media
The chain-restaurant industry’s wildly accelerated pace of LTO introductions is an important reason for the wild advertising spending spree the industry is seeing. Rising five times faster than total U.S. ad spending, restaurants’ explosion is a response to a sluggish, slow-growth marketplace where stealing share is the best way to make gains.
But hand-to-hand share combat is expensive. During Q2 of 2013, restaurant sector advertising was $1.732 billion, a 12.6% increase over the same period last year, according to data from Kantar Media. Consider that overall U.S. ad spending was up just 3.5% for the quarter and the size of restaurants’ ad bulge is in perspective. Automotive spending was up 6.9%; retail rose 0.1%.
The Q2 numbers are an acceleration of a trend that began at the beginning of this year. In Q1, the growth in restaurant ad spending was 8% over the prior year while total U.S. spending was actually down by 0.1%.
Through the first half of 2013, restaurant ad spending of $3.354.5 is 10% higher than during the first two quarters of 2012. Total U.S. ad spending was up only 2% in the first half. Restaurant spending is outpacing the total by a factor of five.
Wendy’s “Red” character (actress Morgan Smith Goodwin) has become an effective sales tool in ads.
Visit BurgerBusiness.com’s New Menu Items Archive and a key driver for soaring ad spending is evident: During the first half of this year, the volume of new menu products—almost all of them LTOs—exceeded what would have been a full year’s marketing calendar not long ago. Burger King was a leader with its “seasonal waves” of new products, which included the BK Rib, Bacon Cheddar Stuffed Burger, Chipotle Whopper, Chipotle Chicken Sandwich, Turkey Burger, Veggie Burger, Philly Chicken Sandwich and Italian Chicken sandwich. That was just during the first two quarters, and doesn’t even include price promotions like the heavily advertised $1.29 Whopper Jr. offer.
But Burger King has been alone in revving up its menu expansion. Jack in the Box advertised several new items including the Hot Mess Burger, Big Stack Burger and Big Waffle Stack, Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges, BLT Cheeseburger and Chipotle Chicken Club. McDonald’s revamped its Quarter Pounder with new flavors and added Fish McBites and a new Grilled Onion Cheddar burger for its Dollar Menu. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s first two quarters brought a Jim Beam Bourbon Burger, Super Bacon Cheeseburger, Pork Chop ‘N Gravy Biscuit, Cranberry Apple Walnut Salad and more. Wendy’s introduced its Flatbread Grilled Chicken platform and Berry Almond Chicken Salad (with its major Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger launch in the first week of Q3).
Last year, BurgerBusiness.com reported Mintel data showing QSRs’ usage of LTOs had increased nearly 50% over the preceding year. The restaurant marketplace hasn’t improved so far in the second half of this year so heavy spending is likely to continue. The difference likely will be that chains will spend heavily on a smaller number of new products. Burger King executives told analysts in July that it was stepping back from its previous strategy of launching multiple new menu items at once. Since then Burger King has added just two new products—the $1 French Fry Burger and Satisfries—one at a time. But with heavy advertising, of course.
Source: The NPD Group
Restaurants want to believe that the 1% decline in customer traffic at lunch since 2008 is the result of debt-laden consumers spending less. Maybe. But NPD Group data finds that many of those customers haven’t left the marketplace; they simply opted to go across the street to a Wegmans, Walgreen’s or Walmart to grab lunch.
Since 2008, lunch-daypart customer traffic at retail stores (including grocery/drug stores, discount stores, price clubs, and others) has increased by 29% according to a new NPD report, The Retail Prepared Foods Market: Assessing the Competition. Over that same period, restaurant lunch traffic is down 1%.
NPD identifies the key drivers for retail’s growth in foodservice as availability of healthy options, good variety of foods, light meal availability, one-stop-shopping convenience and, of course, affordability, an attribute QSRs are trying so hard to offer.
Grab-n-go subs and salads at Wegmans
Retail’s incursion isn’t going to go away. NPD forecasts prepared food purchased at retailers for at-home consumption will increase 10% over the next decade. Restaurant traffic is forecast to see just a 4% growth over that period. Lunch represents just 20% of retail’s prepared foods, but the dinner daypart, which is 35% of the total also is growing. NPD says food purchased at retail for lunch or dinner consumption at home at at work is driving growth.
Said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst, “It’s fact that retail prepared foods are taking visits away from restaurants and restaurant visits are not expected to grow much over the next decade, but there is also significant opportunity for foodservice operators to meet consumers’ needs for prepared foods. Learning more about how consumers use retail stores for their foodservice-type meals enable restaurant operators and their supplier partners to understand how to better compete in this area of growing consumer demand.”
Restaurant researcher Technomic says supermarket prepared foods have increased more than 6% annually over the past five years. But mass merchandisers/supercenters have seen even greater growth, exceeding 13% over same time period Restaurant sales haven’t come close to matching that growth during the period.
McDonald’s will have a functioning outlet as part of a new Australian morning TV show, “Wake Up.” Announcement of the deal with Network Ten has brought the expected criticism from some nutritionists.
The McDonald’s operation won’t be available to the public. Instead its two full-time staffers will be preparing breakfast items for the show’s on-air talent and guests, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The unit will be part of the studio but not part of the show’s set. The “Wake Up” program has not yet begun airing.
Network Ten called creation of the world’s smallest McDonald’s part of its sales staff’s “premium creative solutions … to amplify brands on air, online and on ground.”
Not surprisingly, some nutritionists reacted with shock. “Will they stop at nothing?” nutritionist Rosemary Stanton wailed to the paper, worrying about the possible repercussions of people shown eating Egg McMuffins or drinking coffee. ”We just make life so hard for parents, with this constant promotion of junk food,” added Stanton. Network Ten responded that “Wake Up” is not a children’s program.
Separately, McDonald’s in Australia (where it is colloquially known as Macca’s) has launched a “Drive Thru to Win” promotion open only to customers who use its drive-thru windows. Codes printed on drive-thru receipts can be entered online. Top prizes in the six-week game are Hyundai i30s, with cash cards awarded daily.
An estimated 60% of McDonald’s revenues come via its drive-thru windows. In 2010, McDonald’s Australia offered a three-minute service guarantee on its drive-thru service.
Brunch Box, Portland, OR
Burger Parlor, Fullerton, CA
A year ago, BurgerBusiness.com gathered 20 great burger-joint logos in a post that proved to be very popular. A sequel was promised. I’ve gained several new favorites since that post, including Brunch Box (at left) in Portland, Ore., for its graphic elegance and clever incorporation of the burger shape. Another is the logo for Burger Parlor in Fullerton, Calif. The contrast between the simple graphic and very precise typography at the bottom with the goofy “i’m juicy” at top is delightful. That’s the business and creative sides of burger making colliding. Many of the best logos do that.
If you look at dozens of burger-joint logos, some stylistic patterns and types emerge. So rather than simply toss out my favorites, I’ve decided to arrange 50 great logos (counting Brunch Box and Burger Parlor) into some of the design categories I see. There isn’t room to look at all categories or all examples because the burger business’s creativity isn’t limited to its menus.
Cows. There’s no getting around where great beef burgers come from. Cows feature prominently in many burger-joint logos. The Rail deserves applause for acknowledging cows’ true relationship to burgers. The logo for Moo Gourmet Burgers in Sydney, Australia, is a bit of Rorschach test, but there’s a cow in there.
Bóbós, Dublin, Ireland
Farm Burger, Atlanta
HopDoddy Burger Bar, Austin, TX
Moo Cluck Moo, Dearborn Heights, MI
The Rail, Akron,Ohio
Moo Gourmet Burgers, Sydney, Australia
Burger Shapes. Both of the new favorites I showed above incorporate burger shapes, which is one of the primary logo-design categories. Here are a few more where burgers are stylishly adapted:
Fonzie, Rome, Italy
Milk Burger, New York City
Shamrock Burgers, Toronto
Wannaburger, Edinburgh, Scotland
Click here to continue reading Typecasting: 50 Great Burger-Joint Logos