There's a food fight going on in Chicago over lunch time customers. The weapon of choice? Hamburgers. The NPD Group has been compiling statistics about our love for hamburgers and where we buy them. From June of 2014 to June of 2015, there were 8.9 billion hamburgers sold at restaurants and foodservice outlets. Surprisingly, casual dining restaurants are growing faster in the burger world than fast food restaurants.
Casual dining restaurants are typically more expensive than their quick-service counterparts, but burgers are very easy to dress up or dress down simply by changing the ingredients. NPD's research says that the average price of a burger at a causal dining restaurant is around $9.02, while fast casual restaurants average about $5.62. However, since fries are normally served as part of the entrée in a casual dining restaurant, it helps to equalize the price.
The NPD data shows that the casual diners are moving from quick-service to fast causal restaurants where they can find superior hamburgers and additional sides. Will high end restaurants respond by offering an even better burger? Time will tell.