The burger is a firm favourite among Americans and Brits alike. Dating back to the late 19th century, the beef patty is one of America’s most popular foodstuffs and creates $73 billion for the economy. The burger as we know it today is a regular meal for many people, with the average American consuming three a week. This means that almost 50 billion burgers are sold every year in the US, making the burger industry a profitable business opportunity for prospective investors.
Of course, food establishments that sell burgers vary significantly. While the burger market used to be divided into fast-food joints, mid-range restaurants and fine-dining eateries, the market has recently developed to become far more diverse, with fast-food outlets that offer higher-quality and/or sustainably sourced burgers, and much more variation in mid-range restaurants.
The US is home to more than 50,000 burger restaurants, so most Americans don’t have to travel far to find a burger, whatever their personal preference. What’s more, 71 percent of all beef sold in American restaurants takes the form of a burger, demonstrating the popularity of the humble patty. Despite this being a crowded market, if done well, a business in the burger industry has the potential to reap huge rewards.
One example of this is Burger King, the world-renowned fast-food burger joint. In the US, Burger King serves 54 million customers every month. Founded in the 1950s, this burger joint has grown to become a household name, comprising more than 15,500 franchised stores. Just 71 units are still company-owned, proving that franchisees do have the power to lead a business to success.
The cheeseburger is one of the most common variations of the meat patty. Describing any burger to which some form of cheese has been added, the cheeseburger is a staple in most burger outlets. Despite its popularity, the origin of the cheeseburger is difficult to determine. According to The Spruce Eats, the first use of the word ‘cheeseburger’ was in Charles Kaelin’s restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky in 1934; Kaelin claimed that he intended to “add a new tang to the hamburger”. A year later, however, Louis Ballast from the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado, trademarked the name ‘cheeseburger’.
However, the terminology surrounding burgers is often contested and seems to have numerous derivations; for example, it is thought that the word ‘hamburger’ comes from Hamburg in Germany, which is famous for its exportation of high-quality beef.
The burger industry is constantly evolving as a result of changing attitudes in society today. Restaurants are having to alter their food offering and practices in order to adapt to changing demand. Consumers – and, in particular, millennials – are becoming increasingly interested in the origin of their meat and the journey it goes on before reaching their plate. Customers are more likely to eat at a burger establishment if the meat it serves is high in quality and sustainably sourced.
Producing one quarter-pounder burger uses 450 gallons of water and releases 6.5 pounds of greenhouse gases (PBS), and while nothing can be done about the environmental impact of beef production, it is vital that restaurants cater for those who prefer to consume other meats or fish, or are vegetarians. More and more burger joints are offering chicken and turkey burgers – which are healthier and have a lower impact on the environment – or vegetarian and vegan burgers. By doing this and ensuring that they can reassure customers about the origin of their burgers, businesses can maximise their revenue potential.
Now an iconic American burger franchise, Wimpy has been in production since 1934. Arriving in the UK in 1954 and becoming a global brand in 1970, this burger chain is known across the world for its delicious burgers. Wimpy caters for a range of dietary requirements and became the first burger chain to include meat-free burgers on its menu in 1985.
Investors could see success by franchising with this global brand if they are in possession of prior managerial experience and a total of £220,000. In comparison to a standard, 1,200 square foot, 60-seat restaurant, a Wimpy express unit costs just £80,000 to set-up and requires 500+ square feet of space. Whichever model the franchisee selects, they will benefit from a two-week training programme which will allow them to access all the tools needed to launch and manage their new Wimpy franchise.
As well as the US brand, Wimpy, Point Franchise offers a number of burger joints that offer something slightly different. Here are a couple of examples:
This franchise allows consumers to enjoy their favourite brands of burgers in their own home. One Delivery brings food from businesses such as Burger King and McDonalds to the customer’s door across more than 65 major UK cities. This franchise began in 2013 and already has over 100 branches across the UK and sees over £1 million in orders every month.
Because this is a hugely successful business, franchisees must make a minimum investment of just £495, but could potentially see a turnover of £50,000 after just two years, making this a brilliant opportunity for British investors.
Loaded Burgers is a British burger restaurant based in Liverpool, Ilford and Stoke Newington. As a mid-range eatery, this franchise offers high-quality, flavoursome but affordable burgers which can be topped with a selection of ingredients. Launched in 2014, Loaded Burgers aims to provide customers with a laidback dining experience in a ‘cool’ setting.
Franchisees joining the business will likely have industry experience and will need proven managerial skills and the motivation to make their franchise a success. £150,000 is required to complete the set-up process, and new recruits will be given a franchise package, which will provide them with all the necessary training and support to succeed in business.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©