Are Burgers on the Way Out?

The Lempert Report
April 18, 2017

What is causing the increase in chicken consumption vs beef?

From where we sit, it looks like burger chains – those like Super Duper who offer a higher quality, fresh, more expensive burger are doing great. But Business Insider reports that of the 100 biggest restaurant chains in the US, three of the five fastest-growing are chicken concepts. The chicken sector has been the No. 1 category in the fast-food business by purchase consideration since last April, when it eclipsed the burger sector. And by the way, Super Duper chicken sandwich, which is broiled, is, well, super! 

And all the chains seem to be rushing in. Even Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame tested a pop up fried chicken restaurant in Ohio last fall. 

Taco Bell has the Naked Chicken Chalupa, which has a shell made out of fried chicken instead of tortilla. They area also testing fried chicken chips. 

McDonald's is expanding its test of the Chicken McGriddle breakfast sandwich. Arby's relaunched its fried chicken last August, and plans to add more chicken sandwiches to the menu. 

KFC is launching the new Georgia Gold Chicken, it’s take on a niche, regional favorite. 

So what’s causing this? Consumer interest is one reason, but another is sheer economics. In 2016, chicken prices were significantly lower than beef prices. 

Another is the perception of chicken, and yes even fried chicken as odd as that may seem. Shake Shack's popular Chick'n Shack sandwich and the insightful chef David Chang's fried chicken concept Fuku are two reasons fried chicken has become trendy.

Chick-fil-A has also helped a great deal as the number one chicken chain’s clever ads helped them reach over $6 billion in sales last year.   

Can’t wait to see the ads touting fried chicken as a healthy alternative. Not! Grilled chicken is just fine.