The Evolution of Burgers
The true origin of the Hamburger is shrouded in the mists of time – some say it originated in the form of a beef patty mixed with pine kernels in ancient Rome – a very gourmet combination – while others say it was Genghis Khan’s Mongol hordes riding out from the steppes of Asia who made the first hamburger by putting pieces of meat under their saddles where a fusion of heat and friction would cook the patty to perfection.
The modern hamburger can be traced back to the European emigrants who filled the docksides of America, bringing with them various styles of food. Most of the Northern Europeans travelled on the ships of the Hamburg line thus giving the beef patty the name that we are all familiar with.
Since then the burger has become the global symbol of fast convenient food. In the last decade though this humble sandwich has evolved into a more respected and high-quality menu item. This increased demand for gourmet and premium burgers has led to a new generation of burger chains specialising in burgers with well sourced ingredients and more variety and originality in the assembly and toppings.
Trends and Tips
Over recent years in Tasty Eating we have seen the increase in demand for premium burgers with nearly all chains and independent outlets adding a premium or gourmet burger to their menu. Eddie Rockets has always put the quality of their meat at the top of their list when trying to differentiate their burgers from the crowd. Supermacs and Abrakebabra have added a premium burger to their menus to tap into the consumer demand for higher quality sandwiches. Here are a few tips on how your business could profit from this trend.
1 – Quality Meat – More and more consumers care about where their food is coming from and Ireland is blessed with some of the best grass-fed cattle in Europe and produces some of the best beef in the world. It clearly makes sense to capitalise on this by providing and boasting about this ingredient in the quality burger on your menu. Make sure to let your customers know that your burgers are 100% Irish beef sourced from trusted farmers working the green fields of Eireann.
2 – Customisation – Consumers these days are control freaks when it comes to spending their money. That’s why there is a trend for customisation in many newer burger restaurants. Counter Burger has a dizzying amount of combinations that can be used by a customer in creating their perfect burger. Big Fernand, a French burger chain, offer over 3,000 ways for customers to create their own burger. Ham Holy Burger, from Italy, offer tableside iPads to allow customers to build their burger.
3 – Have Fun with Names – Irish restaurants have a good tradition in creating pun-tastic names, with Abrakebabra and the peerless For Cod and Ulster. Creating a fun name for your gourmet burger can be a good way of promoting your whole menu. Burger Urge from Australia have attracted attention with their humurous names on their menu – anyone for The Frying Nemo or The Donald Trump (with orange cheese presumably)?
4 – Colour – Colourful toppings and ingredients can add to a burger’s appeal so feel free to experiment with how a burger looks. Burger King in Japan have a jet black charcoal flavoured bun on their Kuro Ninja burger and a recent US survey found that 60% of consumers were keen to try it.
5 – Don’t forget the Veggies – All of the newer burger concepts and chains from around the world make sure to provide for the vegetarianism – a well crafted and assembled veggie burger can be almost as much fun as a 100% beef one. McDonalds in Switzerland have introduced a Quinoa Curry burger and in India a McAloo Tikki burger made from potato and pea.
Ham Holy Burger – Ham Holy Burger is an Italian gourmet burger chain taking the premium burger to the home of pizza and pasta. The 100% Italian beef is from Piedmont Fassona beef and they do a monthly special to appeal to Italian tastes – a recent highlight is the Carbonara Burger featuring bacon, eggs and black pepper. The menu includes a meatball burger a lobster roll and a vegetarian option with grilled aubergine. They also have their own artisinal beer range – very much on trend.
Big Fernand – Big Fernand is a French gourmet burger chain with outlets in France, UK, Hong Kong and the UAE. They have a small menu of six burgers and focus on the meat quality and their use of specific French cheeses like Tomme de Savoie, Raw Racette and Fourme D’Ambert. The brand also focuses attention on their croissant like buns made in house every day. They of course have a well thought out vegetarian option – a burger with whole Paname mushrooms paired with Tomme de Savoie cheese.