Three years ago, Denny’s gave a name to the trend to improved burger quality when it added its line of “burger-joint inspired” Better Burgers. Now it’s giving the customization craze its due by introducing limited-time “Build Your Own” programs for both burgers and milk shakes.
The promotion gives diners their choice of beef, grilled chicken breast, turkey or veggie patty. Bun options are sesame seed, whole wheat, grilled potato or Cheddar bun. American, Swiss, Cheddar, pepper-Jack and mozzarella are the cheeses. Toppings? Choose from sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, pickles, ranch, pico de gallo, grilled onions, tomato, mayo, Frisco sauce, BBQ sauce, spinach, red onion, sour cream, chipotle sauce and jalapeños. Also available for a small upcharge are hash browns, signature Onion Tanglers, mac ‘n cheese, fire-roasted peppers and onions, egg (over medium), bacon, coleslaw, chili and avocado.
Those not interested in building can choose from several new choices, including a burger version of Denny’s famous Moons Over My Hammy breakfast sandwich. Others include a Macho Nacho Burger (with Cheddar, chili, lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo, jalapeňos and tortilla chips on grilled Cheddar bun), Fresco Italiano Burger-O (mozzarella, fire-roasted peppers and onions, sautéed mushrooms and spinach on grilled potato bread) an Cali Jack Turkey Burger (turkey patty with pepper-Jack, lettuce, pico de gallo, diced avocado and chipotle sauce on grilled wheat bun).
Denny’s follows another flavor trend by including a Maple Bacon Milk Shake among its new shake options. Others are the Oreo Mud Pie, Crazy Caramel Crunch and PB & Nana.
Social media play an important role in promoting the burgers and shakes (which are available 24/7). Denny’s will launch a Tumblr page featuring classic burger and shake pairings. Facebook and Pinterest will be used as well.
The popularity of the “build-your-own-burger” approach continues to be stronger at independent burger joints than at chains, where it presents operations issues. But Red Robin Gourmet Burgers has developed a different path to the same end result. It offers a variety of bundled topping combinations called “Styles” for its new Tavern Double and Red’s Big Tavern burgers. The five Styles, which can be added for $1 each, are Fiery Ghost, Cry Baby, Pig Out, Cantina Jack and Buzzalo (this last with Buffalo sauce, crumbled blue cheese, blue-cheese dressing and celery slices).