Photo by Dr. Wolf Wagschal
The limited-service burger segment is the largest menu segment by revenue in the restaurant industry. With more than 1,000 stores and 2012 projected top $1 billion, Five Guys dominates the “better burger” category. But competitors with new ideas are closing in.
Technomic reports that these fast-casual burger spots grew sales by 20.8 percent last year, while all limited-service burger chains grew 3.7 percent. And with that, plenty of room for continued growth, as fast-casual sales make up currently only 3.2 percent of LSR burger-segment sales.
Better-burger concepts have a lot going for them: they have the benefit of a basic and beloved menu focus. Raising the quality of the protein, bun, toppings and sides has been a winning formula. And a number of celebrity chefs have opened concepts that focus on burgers made with premium ingredients, helping to elevate their profile.
“The segment includes some of the rising stars of the industry overall. For example, Smashburger grew sales by more than 71 percent in 2011, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries increased sales by 24 percent,” said Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano.
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