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Burgers Are Going Upscale

A burger business might sound old school, but new hamburger restaurants are serving up patties with a twist
November 17, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/170720

Americans always have a buck for a burger. In fact, this American staple is getting so much attention that it's inspiring some of the country's top chefs to start their own burger restaurants--including husband-and-wife team Tim and Liza Goodell, 40 and 36, respectively.

These restaurateurs just added 25 Degrees, a Hollywood, California, burger and wine bar, to their impressive list of restaurants. Offering assorted toppings such as caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and a variety of high-end cheeses, this isn't your typical burger joint. And neither is the sophisticated setting of crystal chandeliers, leather booths and velvet wallpaper. The 1,700-square-foot restaurant opened in February and is already on track to bring in $1,000 per square foot this year. "Hamburgers are the most commonly eaten food in the United States," says Tim, who plans to open several more locations in the Western U.S.

Ivan Brown, brand manager of ground beef at Cargill Meat Solutions, a producer of ground beef in Wichita, Kansas, couldn't agree more. According to Brown, 8.5 billion burgers were served in commercial restaurants during the 12 months ending March 2006. Entrepreneurs can beef things up with upgrades, customization and flavor. Give consumers high-end toppings, the freedom to create, and ethnic and untraditional flavor options, and this is one item certain to keep the grill red-hot. For those interested in franchising, check out this month's "What's New" column on page 126 for information about gourmet burger chain The Counter.

Getting Started
Ready to cook up your own burger restaurant? You can get started by: