Burgers never really go out of style, but these days, thanks to consumers’ desire for convenience and nostalgia, they’re even more on-trend.

The market for burgers is stronger than ever. According to one report, revenue has grown by more than 4% in recent years, arriving at over $170 billion last year. With such a saturated market, it’s essential to find ways to put your own stamp on the trend. Differentiating from the competition is the best way to drive burger-lovers to spend their dollars at your establishment. Here are a few ways to stand out from the crowd.

Lemme Lemme Upgrade

Increasingly, consumers are interested in understanding where their food comes from, and they’re willing to pay a premium for well-sourced, high-quality ingredients. By working with quality products, such as the Braveheart Black Angus Beef® Gourmade Burger™, which uses premium cuts of brisket and chuck to make a better burger, you can attract guests who are looking for a top-notch burger experience.

Hot Toppings

A burger is more than just a patty on a bun. It’s the toppings that make burgers truly unique. Cultivate a menu of exciting, special toppings to allow guests to build their own burger, with corresponding pricing for premium ingredients. Think creatively about your brand and your kitchen to come up with toppings that are outside of the box.

Internationally-inspired burgers are trending right now, so if it makes sense for your brand, consider offering toppings from around the world — think gochujang aioli and kimchi on a Korean-inspired burger, Iberico ham and pickled peppers on a Basque-influenced burger, or burgers with a Greek vibe, care of feta cheese and tzatziki.

Get Smashed

According to several notable food magazines, smash burgers have been THE burger trend for the past five years, and the momentum shows no signs of slowing down. Smash burgers are super-thin patties, pressed onto the griddle to form crispy-edged patties, typically topped with American cheese, burger sauce, and pickles. The good news for operators is that they actually require less meat, which lowers costs, and they’re quick to make because the patties cook in half the time of meatier burgers.

No Bull

Consumers are increasingly interested in plant-based options across the board, and there are so many great ways to offer plant-based burgers, whether you buy pre-made veggie burgers or make your own using ingredients like lentils, beans, tofu, or vegetables. These days, having a vegetarian and/or vegan option is a no-brainer, but it’s important to make sure it’s just as tasty as your meat-based burger, so put some thought into the flavor profiles to come up with plant-based burgers that will draw a crowd, and you can be sure word will spread in the plant-based dining community.

Local Flavor

Just as international flavors are trending right now, so are hyper-regional flavors and retro recipes. Burgers like the Midwestern Butter Burger, which includes cheese, pickles, and plenty of butter, are expanding beyond the region as folks learn about them. Other regional burgers include the Juicy Lucy, with melty cheese inside the patty; Oklahoma’s fried onion burger, which smashes onions right into the patty; and the gut-busting Luther Burger from Georgia — a bacon cheeseburger placed between two glazed donuts. Take a look at your region (or your roots) to find a locally-inspired burger your guests will love.

Cheers to Burgers

Don’t forget the beverage pairings when it comes to your burger menu! Use creative menu design to suggest drink pairings for specific burgers. Make sure to vary the offerings so that they’re not all milkshakes or alcoholic drinks — offer a variety of options so guests can find what suits them best. Pair burgers with specialty sodas, housemade lemonade or limeade, boozy milkshakes, craft beer, and cocktails & mocktails.

Closeup on the Burgs

Burgers have the advantage of looking extremely enticing on social media, so ensure your burgs are ready for their closeups. You want detailed closeups of the burgers, so guests know what to expect, as well as some general shots of guests (with photo releases!) enjoying their burgers.

Video can also be a great tool for showcasing what makes your burgers and sides unique. Do you have a 24-hour french fry process? Create a video that explains what makes that superior! Do you hand-cut 1,000 onions a day or bake your buns from scratch? Capture and share that story to set yourself apart from the competition!

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