The American classic is still topping the charts for these three onsite operators.
“We sell 438 burgers a day at our new Burger Town concept. That makes up 22% of sales at that location, and there are many other choices there. We came up with this concept because students love their burgers. It sort of has that ‘Five Guys’ feel, but I think ours looks better than a Five Guys burger; it's more gourmet. We rebranded what we had before, and gave the area a facelift.
“And we went back-to-basics — just burgers, veggie burgers and chicken breasts completely made-to-order. The fun part is the customization. There are so many toppings to add on: bacon, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, homemade chili, lettuce, pickles, tomato, red onion, and more. Lots of different sauces. Our students come up with some creative combinations, and that's the fun!
“We haven't needed to publicize this. The line is always long, and people don't mind waiting. It moves pretty fast, thanks to the menu boards (see photos). We adjusted those as we were getting started with the concept last fall. At first it was a hiccup, a training issue, to have so many options, but now the line moves much better.”
Photography by Julie Crider
Director of Food & Nutrition Services
Wood County Hospital
Bowling Green, OH
“One of our promotions is called Burger Brilliance — it's three to five days of gourmet burgers. Employees make up a big portion of our customer base, so it just can't be the same burger all the time. The ‘recipe’ burgers really build excitement.
“To change the image of a burger, I try to use many different kinds of buns and bread. Just changing the bread makes one burger a totally different burger. It's like dressing it in a whole new outfit.
“Our Grilled English Burger is on a big English muffin. It has Tiger Sauce (a type of steak sauce popular in the UK). We use onion buns with carmelized onions baked on top. Our New York Burger has a kaiser roll, swiss cheese and ham. The Lemon-Garlic Burger is on a French sandwich roll. Also, I'd really recommend to anyone: See if your purveyor has pretzel buns.
“The bread is just a great way to give a burger its own identity.”
Assistant Manager of Food and Nutrition Services
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
“This is the first year we've been serving mini burgers. It's a trend that the middle- and high-school kids really like. It used to be ‘super size’ everything, but now it's more about the mini portion.
“Two patties count as the entree to a school lunch. Each one weighs about an ounce and they come pre-cooked and frozen, which we really like because it's less raw food to handle.
“The staff can either steam or bake the mini burgers, and they come with the buns when we buy them. We usually serve them with onion or pickle on the side, so students can decide how they want their burger.
“Also, we tried a mini chicken sandwich, but decided to stick with the burgers; they're a classic.
“We're always looking for trends that will still meet our wellness guidelines.”