CHICAGO -- Burgers are among the top choices on convenience-store menus. In fact, 57% of consumers told Technomic that they choose a burger when they visit a c-store for lunch, while 63% said they choose a burger for dinner. And according to Technomic's recent Convenience Store Consumer MarketBrief, burgers are also among the top five foods overall that c-store consumers say they purchase frequently for a snack.
Burgers are definitely one of consumers’ most preferred entrees, but consumption is down slightly from 2015, reveals Technomic’s latest Burger Consumer Trend Report. Consumers’ burger preferences are shifting with regard to the types of burgers and burger toppings they want and when they want to eat them. Operators who understand these changes can draw diners back to this classic handheld.
CSP's colleagues at Restaurant Business have detailed four new consumer preferences with burgers at restaurants. C-store retailers can keep these preferences in mind when developing burger promotions of their own ...
1. Think unique
Preference is decreasing for some familiar burger components, including beef patties, onions, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, ketchup, mustard, and sesame seed and kaiser rolls. Consumers may be looking for less-traditional elements: Trending up are nonbeef burger patties, including turkey, stuffed burgers, pork and veggie, as well as less-traditional toppings such as fried eggs and avocado spread/guacamole. Even some less-traditional burger pairings are on the upswing, including seasoned fries (59%, compared with 53% in 2015) and customizable soft drinks (28%, compared with 22% in 2015).
2. Breakfast and snacking are up
Burger consumption is steady in the morning and for snacks but falling at lunch and dinner. About 18% of consumers (compared with 16% in 2015) eat burgers for breakfast at least once a month, with 19% saying the same about a midmorning snack (compared with 17% two years ago). Conversely, 66% of consumers eat burgers for lunch at least once a month, vs. 71% in 2015, and 73% say the same for dinner in 2017, vs. 80% two years ago.
3. Toppings are crucial
This year, as in years past, consumers rank the patty as the most important attribute for a burger they order from a restaurant. However, consumers are increasingly prioritizing toppings. In fact, consumers ranked quality/taste of the toppings higher than price/value for the money this year, whereas those ranks were flipped in 2015. This swap indicates that consumers are increasingly willing to pay more for premium burgers with specialty toppings.
4. BYO trend leveling out?
While build-your-own (BYO) burgers still appeal to the majority of consumers (54%), this is down from 2015 (60%). Guests may be looking for more signature offerings that can be customized as necessary rather than menus that rely too heavily on customization.