3 innovative burger brands to bite into

By Nick Hall | 01 Aug 2019 View comments

When it comes to fast-food favourites, burger brands still reign supreme, but is the growing health conscious and hipster movement threatening to change the burger business for good?

Bao Vuong, senior industry analyst for IBISWorld predicts that rising consumer demand for nutritious fast food will continue to drive revenue for the sector, particularly over the next five years.

“One of the most important factors for fast-food operators in this changing environment is the ability to easily alter menus where necessary to maintain market share,” Vuong said.

“Continuing health consciousness trends will hinder industry performance, especially for traditional operators, as consumers limit consumption of unhealthy food.”

Huxtaburger 

Innovative Aussie franchise Huxtaburger is no stranger to millennial-minded marketing. Take a look at the brand’s 21,000 strong Instagram following and you’ll see a familiar pattern of 20-somethings searching for a fun fast-food fix on slightly more upscale level.

“It is a very deliberate part of our brand strategy to not just exist in the food space,” a member of the Huxtaburger executive team told Inside Franchise Business.

“You’ll find that most food retailers focus on freshness, providence, quality and/or health. While these values are important to Huxtaburger, some of which form one of our key brand pillars, we also want to capture the hearts and minds of our Huxtamers.”

With a full-service bar, sit-down eating and wealth of food-coma inducing fare, Huxtaburger has deliberately established itself as an immersive dining experience that caters to the Gen Y market.

Lord of the Fries

On the other end of the hipster spectrum you’ll find the developing vegan culture, and in the franchise burger business, one Aussie brand has carved out an industry-leading reputation.

Starting as a vegetarian chain, Lord of the Fries recently made the move to 100 per cent vegan ingredients, addressing the growing health conscious movement.

“Over the last few years, Australian consumers shift towards a plant-based diet has seen LOTF become even more relevant than before,” co-founder, Mark Koronczyk said.

The Melbourne franchisor believes more burger chains will follow suit, dictated by driving consumer demand.

“Burgers and fries have been popular all over the world since the 60s but what is growing is that businesses are making ethical choices,” he said. “Consumers are influencing businesses to be more transparent about where their food is coming from and its effects on the planet.”

Carl’s Jr.

Since opening its first store in Queensland just one year ago, Carl’s Jr. franchise owner, The Bansal Group has replicated the brand’s immense success in the U.S., down under.

The group is on track to hit its target of 30 stores in Queensland over the next few years, which Gaurav Bansal, group owner puts down to the chain’s American influence.

“Carl’s Jr.’s American roots allow us to bring something special to the table,” Bansal said. “Being born in the U.S. marketplace, the Carl’s Jr. brand has tenacity. We’ve had to overcome great challenges in our category to compete with the other QSRs in the States and worldwide. I think that sort of influence will continue to grow and shape the way that Australians choose to dine.”

Consumers in this country are continually evolving, which is why Bansal believes it’s important for QSR and fast-food operators to be agile yet grounded in their key market offering.

“The burger market has become particularly oversaturated in recent years, and only the strongest brands will survive long-term. It’s imperative to provide customers with consistent value, quality and choice to maintain good sales.”

Franchise burger brands on the move

While burger brands continue to dominate the franchise space, a change may be on the cards. Whatever your preference, healthy, hearty or hipster, Gaurav Bansal’s believes a focus on future growth is key to any franchisee’s success.

“Before entering the burger market, be sure to ask: ‘Why is your burger different?’ and ‘How is your customer experience going to be different than the larger players in the market?” he said.

“Understand that well before you begin the franchising journey.”