Better-burger segment one of fastest-growing sectors in U.S. restaurant industry, with 21% year-over-year growth to US$2.2B in 2011, research firm says

LOS ANGELES , June 12, 2012 () – The better-burger segment is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. restaurant industry, The Chicago Tribune reported June 10.

This sector, which constitutes only a small portion of the overall U.S. restaurant industry, grew 21% year-over-year to US$2.2 billion in 2011, research firm Technomic Inc. wrote in a report. By contrast, the entire hamburger-focused fast-casual and fast-food sector grew 3.2% in 2011.

The restaurant chain Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which is based in Lorton, Virginia, and helped introduce the better-burger concept to the national stage, has been the fastest-growing domestic chain in terms of sales since 2008. The chain’s sales rose 32.8% year-over-year to $951 million in 2011, Technomic added.

Better-burger restaurant chains including The Counter, Five Guys, Freddy's Frozen Custard, The Habit Burger Grill and Smashburger all saw their restaurant base increase by more than 20% in 2011.

While the addition of coffee options, salads and smoothies have helped traditional hamburger chains lure customers, serious burger lovers were left behind and grew bored, said Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano.

Even McDonald’s Corp. has unveiled higher-quality offerings such as Angus burgers, better-quality buns and offerings such as Swiss cheese and mushrooms.

The primary source of this article is The Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, on June 10, 2012.

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