Forget falling beef prices – burgers aren't going anywhere.
American restaurants served up 9 billion burgers in 2014, a 3 percent increase over the prior year, according to a recent study by food service researcher The NPD Group.
The burger's rise corresponded with a 2 percent decline in sandwiches. Grilled chicken sandwiches especially suffered, with restaurants and foodservice outlets serving 129 million fewer of them last year – a fall of 9 percent.
The success of the burger is especially impressive because foodservice traffic growth was flat for 2014. A major reason for the burger's success: more burgers on the menus at restaurants that aren't fast-food burger joints. While visits to quick-service hamburger restaurants such as McDonald's or Burger King were down 3 percent, casual dining restaurants picked up the slack with more burger sales, catering to customers who increasingly pick burgers over more expensive beef entrées.
2014 was not an easy year for the burger business, as beef prices hit record highs. However, despite the challenges, the burger prevailed. With Shake Shack's upcoming IPO and McDonald's new, burger-centric Create Your Taste platform, expect the hamburger to reign supreme yet again in 2015.