The burger prediction, part I:
Many thought the bourgie burger would become ubiquitous, satisfying our insatiable hunger for comfort food—even at the most ambitious restaurants.
Who Said What
Tony said he understood high-end chefs making burgers but found it dismaying nonetheless: “[It’s unfortunate] any time you see really great chefs cooking below their abilities by putting out a burger.” [Food & Wine]
The network’s e-pundits predicted a rise in fine dining burgers and cited Top Chef
alum Richard Blais’ Flip Burger Boutique—utilizing toppings like pomegranate ketchup, seared foie gras, and cucumber relish—as evidence. [Travel Channel
Did it happen?
Is there ever a year when burgers aren’t
popular? This prediction was a bit of a gimme for food-world prognosticators, particularly since the trend of haute burgers—cloaked in cheddar, topped with a port reduction, et al—was already well in effect prior to 2012 (Minetta Tavern Black Label, anyone?). But it is fair to say that things reached fever pitch this year: At this point, it’s almost a statement when a hot new restaurant doesn’t
put out a fancy-pants burger (at least an off-the-menu one). Though some might argue that ordering haute burgers is one step removed from asking for a kids menu at Per Se, the trend has also yielded some truly stunning patties.
The burger prediction, part II:
Rapid regional burger joint expansions will chip away at hometown burger pride.
Who Said What:
The Daily Meal:
In light of expansion plans from the likes of Shake Shack, Five Guys, In-N-Out, and Umami Burger, the Daily Meal said "America's regional burger favorites [will] become even less location-specific...2012 will see more West Coast burgers making eastern inroads, and at some point, the beginning of the end for West Coast hype.” [Daily Meal
Did it happen?
Expansions within the regional burger chain world are still moving ahead at warp-speed, and people continue to go absolutely berserk at any word of out-of-town burger imports coming to their town. An announcement that Umami Burger would come to NYC produced months of hype, and Fatburger is looking to make big moves
too. However, industry experts say that there's a tipping point on the horizon. Bob Goldin, an executive vice president at Technomic, tells Bloomberg
that signs of saturation in the market are expected to arise in the next 12–24 months among the better burger chains. “You’re going to see a shakeout,” says Goldin.
Burger fatigue will begin to set in, allowing things to settle into a more sustainable holding pattern. Essentially, the strong will survive with the best chains winning out, and only the most successful fancy burgers will remain on menus. Or so we hope.