The BurgerFi chain is shifting to somewhat bigger burgers as it confronts a persistent consumer hangup and clears the way to even faster growth.
The North Palm Beach, Fla.-based would seem to be doing all the right things. That includes a millennial-friendly menu of Angus burgers with no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives; a VegeFi burger; “Kobe-style” beef hot dogs plus chicken apple dogs; and hand-cut fries. It also has an aggressive growth plan that the $100 million chain (up 69% from 2014) says will get it to 100 restaurants by year-end. Restaurant Business magazine just ranked it 17th among the fastest growing small chains.
Yet, if you look at social media reviews on Yelp and elsewhere, you encounter a recurring complaint. As one Philadelphia Yelper recently put it, “I ordered the American burger with an onion ring on it. The burger tasted good, but the burger itself was very small.”
Lately, you’ll also notice BurgerFi’s recurring response on those sites: “We have good news in regards to the burger patties. We are updating the size of them so they will be a little bit larger.” That news will be announced this month.
Being announced today is that the return of the Great Canadian Taste Adventure promotion at McDonald’s in Canada. Last year’s celebration of Canadian ingredients included such national specialties as a McLobster and Maple & Bacon Poutine (with cheese curds from Quebec). Details of the 2016 menu are released today, but this year’s five items apparently include a special Egg McMuffin, two beef burgers, a chicken burger and a sundae. One new LTO will be appear on the menu each week.
In Australia, KFC is wandering beyond chicken again, forays that make burger chains uneasy. It has just introduced what it calls a Kentucky Pulled Pork Burger. The official description is “succulent slow-cooked pork” combined with “the Colonel’s famous BBQ sauce with fresh crunchy slaw all served on a super-soft brioche bun.” When did the Colonel become famous for barbecue sauce?
KFC sells a BBQ Pork Burger now in China, too, and it has done similar items before. Last year it menued a Southern Pulled Pork Sandwich in Canada, Pulled Chicken sandwiches in the UK and a “Bistro Hamburg”—a blend of 30% pork and 70% beef—in Japan.