The bun might be the unsung hero of the total burger package. Not only is it under pressure to look presentable while containing piled-high burger goodness, it must complement, not overwhelm, the true star of the show – the patty. Choose a bun that’s too dense or too chewy and customers won’t be able to bite into their burgers. A bun that’s too delicate will get soggy and turn your presentation into a flop. So, what do consumers prefer?
Traditional still wins
Though every other part of the burger is getting the “out there” treatment, traditional white and wheat buns remain the most preferred breads for restaurant burgers. More women than men prefer a wheat bun, likely because they perceive it as healthier, but more men prefer a sesame-seed white bun, perhaps because they see it giving their burger premium appeal.
Go savory to add more flavor complexity
One-third of consumers say they would order savory breads such as sourdough rolls or onion buns with their burgers – options that easily add another level of flavor.* You can also get creative and make the bun an ingredient in your finished concept. Try a jalapeno cheddar or garlic parmesan bun to up the taste factor and the innovation ante.
Think sandwich breads for premium burgers
Nearly a quarter of restaurant-goers choose ciabatta, French bread or focaccia buns for their burgers.* These varieties, typically reserved for sandwiches, now lend an upscale touch to burgers, and appeal to consumers who seek higher quality menu items. Just be cautious that your bread’s texture isn’t so dense and unforgiving that it overpowers the patty and its toppings.
Generation gap: Younger patrons want specialty breads
The under-35 crowd is much more adventurous when it comes to bun choice, driving demand for the still-popular pretzel bun and other trendy carriers such as French bread, brioche sweet bread, focaccia and potato rolls. As this Technomic study shows, if your establishment caters to a younger customer base, don’t be afraid to get a little bold with your bun options!
Get on-trend LTO concepts
We put it all together for you! Check out our on-trend LTO ideas for burgers that will create a buzz for your operation.