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Mega-burger goes against US trend to smaller, healthier serve sizes

Beef Central, 15/02/2013

 

One-upmanship is apparently alive and well in the highly competitive US premium burger restaurant segment, where one chain decided recently to permanently offer a promotional burger stacked nine beef patties high.

The response came after the Jake’s Wayback chain received more than 100 orders during a test marketing month last year.

Applying a typical cooked pattie weight of 125g, that amounts to a whopping 1.1kg of meat protein sitting between the buns.

According to the Burger business newsletter, the Jake’s Triple-Triple burger (pictured) is the tallest burger available at a major fast food restaurant in the US. The burger was initially offered as a promotional item to challenge ‘competitive eaters’, but its popularity has landed it on the permanent menu.

The burger will sell for US$12.99 beginning in March, but a burger with that much beef may be affected by wholesale beef prices that are expected to increase in 2013, Burger Business warns.

Jake’s Wayback is an East Coast fast food company with restaurants in 14 states.

In contrasting news, Bloomberg has reported that America’s romance with triple-decker, gooey cheese-and bacon-laden burgers is officially cooling.

A new study by the Hudson Institute found that demand for traditional items at restaurants was falling, with what the think-tank calls ‘low-calorie’ items rising to take their place.

The Hudson Institute study classified ‘low’ as no more than 500 calories for meals and 150 calories for side dishes and desserts. So while apple slices and grilled chicken make the cut, so do McRib sandwiches at 500 calories and Egg McMuffins at 300 calories.

Not exactly health food, but marginally better than such burgers as Whoppers (630 calories) and Sonic burgers (640 calories).

The study noted that sales of signature beef burgers at big US chains like Burger King, McDonald’s, Sonic, and Wendy’s dropped 28 percent from 2006 to 2011. This was despite a 3.7pc increase in traffic at these chains.

“Eleven of 12 iconic burgers declined in that period. That’s a big deal,” the report’s author said.

Sales of all ‘low-calorie’ items increased by 472.4 million servings from 2006 to 2011.

A spokesman for the Sonic chain said sales had been helped by products that are considered ‘better for you’, such as a new chicken sandwich and lower-calorie drinks.

Fatty burgers were not the only food affected. Sales of all higher-calorie foods fell by 1.3 billion orders from 2006 to 2011, according to the report. Orders of chips dipped by 1.9pc at the largest fast food chains.

‘Calorie consciousness’ would probably continue to rise, as US restaurants with more than 20 locations will be required by law from 2014 to post calorie counts, the New York Times said.

“Food service operators won’t see sales growth if they don’t start transitioning,” the report said. “They better be pushing smaller portions of these items, better-for-you items.”

 

 

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