Contrary to reports that the number of burgers on menus began to fall last year, smaller pop-ups and global chains are offering increasingly diverse and premium options to compete in the ‘better burger’ market.
Smashburger, known for its unique cooking method of ‘smashing’ beef on to a hot buttered grill, is predicting huge UK customer demand and is positioning itself to be a market leader ‘for the next 30 years and beyond’.
Managing Director Tim Lowther, the man behind the launch of Shake Shack and Five Guys in the UK, said: “The fast casual dining market is yet to reach its potential and there is most definitely an exciting long term future ahead with huge potential for brands such as Smashburger.”
The chain has more than 300 sites across the USA, and plans to open over 35 UK restaurants in the next few years.
Fellow US giant Fatburger, which promises 'size does matter', is set to open its first UK site in Camden in June 2015.
UK burger brands are also expanding. The Telegraph has reported that London-based Byron is planning to open ten sites every year for the ‘foreseeable future’, while MeatLiquor is opening its sixth site in Bristol this April.
Pop-ups become permanent
A host of smaller pop-up outlets have been capitalising on consumer demand and are set to transition to permanent sites.
Anderson’s Bar & Grill in Birmingham are launching a pop-up burger joint in St Paul’s square with a view to open a permanent site in the city centre.
In the capital, pub based outlets Lucky Chip and Bunsmiths are planning standalone sites for later this year. Bunsmiths' Richard Temple told BigHospitality the brand are aiming for a high street location, and are hoping to open multiple restaurants in future.
Jamaican burger concept Boom Burger have recently opened their second London site after running a successful pop-up at The Earl of Portobello for eight months.
Established casual dining chains are introducing a greater number of diverse burger options to their summer menus in order to capitalise on the trend.
Steak specialists Beefeater have added four new burgers to their summer menu, including the Triple Burger containing three types of beef, while Nando’s has introduced the Churrasco Thigh Burger alongside its existing Butterfly Burger.
Restaurant magazine reported in January that the death of the burger market had been 'greatly exaggerated', with MeatLiquor, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Shake Shack all planning extensive expansion.