The Year of the Burger? U.S. Restaurants Served up Some 9 Billion Burgers in 2014

The Year of the Burger? U.S. Restaurants Served up Some 9 Billion Burgers in 2014
Image: Pixabay
February 2, 2015

Against tough competition from other sandwiches and flat to declining restaurant traffic, burgers ordered at U.S. restaurants and foodservice outlets had a banner year in 2014, according to a new report from research firm NPD Group.

U.S. restaurants and foodservice outlets served up 9 billion burgers in 2014, up by 3 percent from 2013, according to NPD's ongoing foodservice market research.

It also appears that the burger category's gain is the sandwich category's loss. Sandwich servings overall declined by 2 percent in 2014 compared to 2013, a total loss of 201 million servings.

Grilled-chicken sandwiches, which tend to be burgers' chief competitor, had an even more challenging year, with total servings down 9 percent from 2013, a loss of 129 million servings.

NPD's report shows that visits to quick service hamburger restaurants, at which burgers were included in 51 percent of all orders, were down by 3 percent, though hamburger servings at quick service locations were up 3 percent.

The report reveals that more burgers were added to casual-dining restaurant menus to offset higher beef prices and the need to charge more for beef entrees; and consumers chose burgers over higher priced beef entrees. Burger servings at casual-dining establishments increased by 4 percent between 2013 and 2014.

"The success of burgers in 2014 was a combination of factors," said Bonnie Riggs, an NPD restaurant industry analyst. "Quick-service restaurant chains launched new burger items, casual-dining restaurants added more burger items to the menu to offset higher beef costs, and Americans simply love their burgers."