Restaurants bunned out as burger bubble bursts

July 12 2017

The burger bubble may have burst, according to a new consumer report that suggests fewer diners are ordering burgers than in previous years.

More than half (56 percent) of the 1,500-plus consumers surveyed as part of Technomic’s 2017 Burger Consumer Trend Report said they eat burgers at least once a week, which is down from roughly two-thirds just four years ago.

It’s not as if diners have been turned off burgers; more consumers are opting to grill their burgers themselves at home in the face of rising prices.

Technomic’s study highlighted a 15 percent increase in burger prices at leading chains since 2013, compared to about 11 percent for all entrees.

However, this isn’t down to greedy restaurants capitalizing on a trend but the result of pricier toppings like brisket, fried eggs and avocado.

Anne Mills, manager of consumer insights at Technomic, explained: “While these ingredients are satisfying demands for new and unique burgers, increasing prices may make burgers a less practical option and push consumers to more affordable alternatives, especially as retail prices for burgers drop.”

It seems restaurants have no choice but offer these more expensive extras, with 35 percent of consumers saying it was very important that restaurants offered burgers with new and unique flavors.

Freshness is vital too, with almost half (48 percent) of consumers saying it was very important that burgers are made with never-frozen beef.

Burgers aren't just a lunch and evening thing anymore either, as more than a quarter (26 percent) of the research sample deemed breakfast burgers to be highly appealing, up from 22 percent in 2015.