STORY: Americana teams up with DJ BBQ and reveals new research

Following research into diner behaviour, Lantmännen Unibake’s Americana brand welcomes DJ BBQ to its ‘Burger Board’, as brand ambassador and consultant for Americana Burger Buns.

The partnership comes as over half of diners (51%) claim quality of ingredients is the most important factor to them when choosing where to eat out and 61% say this is their main reason for venue loyalty, encouraging them to return multiple times.

The study also found that value for money is important to nearly half of diners (48%). This, paired with the demand for consistency of food quality (93%), demonstrates that they are prepared to pay more for great food, if they feel it is worth it.

BBQ specialist and burger lover, DJ BBQ (aka Christian Stevenson) has joined forces with Americana to review current burger trends and applications and provide his take on how outlets can deliver exceptional gourmet burger options. The aim is to help pubs and restaurants drive sales of the menu item diners are most likely to order – burgers. To do this, Americana and DJ BBQ will advise how operators can stay on-trend and relevant to diners, and improve their reputation to increase repeat visitation, whilst ultimately maximising the overall dining experience and driving more profit.

With 77% likely to order a burger in a pub or restaurant monthly or more regularly, it is a must on any menu to drive diners to your venue. However, thought needs to be given to how that burger is delivered, as 65% say it is important for a burger to be made with quality ingredients and 89% want their burger served in a high-quality bun. It’s imperative operators meet diners’ burger expectations, as it could be the difference in maintaining their loyalty – 69% agree or strongly agree that a quality burger is the mark of a good pub or restaurant and 66% would be put off returning to a pub or restaurant after eating a disappointing burger.

Stevenson comments on the partnership and research: “I’m stoked to be working with Americana – a brand that shares the same passion as me for great quality food and ingredients.

“I cut my teeth working in kitchens and now cater at festivals every summer serving 3,000 burgers a weekend. The most important element of any burger – which is supported by Americana’s latest research – is the quality of ingredients. From using high-welfare meat and fresh fillings to selecting the bun that is going to deliver the best taste experience, but also hold its own with all those juices. That’s what keeps my customers coming back year after year and telling me my burgers are the best they’ve tasted.

“To me there’s nothing worse than being served a burger in a dry bun, that falls apart when you try to eat it. Americana’s latest research showed that most diners agreed with me – 53% saying they’d be disappointed if they were served a gourmet burger in a standard bun. You don’t get that with Americana. You get a full-flavoured, perfectly textured bun, that no matter the filling, it stays together. Not only do Americana burger buns taste great, but they look great too – helping to deliver the ultimate gourmet burger experience. Which, if executed well, operators can charge more for, whilst still providing excellent value for money.”

Forty-six percent claim that flavour is a key driver to ordering a burger, and beef and cheese came out as the clear leaders when asked about favourite ingredients. Therefore, if operators serve just one burger, it should be an outstanding cheeseburger. However, it is also worth considering different tastes and dietary requirements, with 37% of diners likely to choose chicken as the main filling for their burger. And, although just 13% of those questioned follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, 20% would be likely or very likely to order a vegan or vegetarian burger in a pub or restaurant.

Tapping into these key flavour trends, DJ BBQ has helped develop three ‘rocking’ (his words!) burger recipes, which he claims should feature on every burger menu:

  • First up, the Oklahoma ‘Smash’ Cheeseburger, in an Americana Brioche Bun. This ultimate double cheeseburger uses the best quality beef mince ‘smashed’ with grilled onions and coated in American mustard. It is then double layered into the toasted Americana Brioche Bun with Monterey Jack cheese, iceberg lettuce, pickle chips, ketchup, and mayo for the juiciest burger around.
  • Next, is the Blackened Cajun Chicken Burger, in the Americana Gourmet Burger Bun. Coated in a fiery mix of herbs and spices, the chicken breast is fried until the spices begin to char, before being flipped to finish. Once cooked through, the moist chicken is sliced and topped with a cooling lime mayo slaw and encased in a soft kaiser cut Americana Gourmet Burger Bun.
  • Finally – the Vegan Mushroom Korean Kimchi Burger, served in a vegan Americana Grill Marked Burger Bun. With 37% finding Asian flavours appealing, this quick and simple vegan option, with flavours of Korea, delivers extreme umami. Grilled portobello mushrooms, marinated in a sweet soy and sesame glaze and filled with vegan kimchi, are placed into a toasted Americana Grill Marked Burger Bun to provide a rival for any meat-based burger.

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