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Burger customization meets crowdsourcing

South St. Burger is basing burger ideas on customers' photos of custom burgers, Carl's Jr. and UFC's Ronda Rousey have entered the ring together, and McDonald's is making LTOs local decisions. 

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    A customer using his mobile phone is seen next to a McDonald's logo at a McDonald's store in Tokyo July 22, 2014.
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Fan photos of their customized burger creations have become Facebook staples for many burger chains and bars. Canada’s South St. Burger is taking that idea a step farther by creating what it’s calling a “Not-So-Secret” Menu. These are four new sandwiches inspired by customer’s photos of custom burgers. These are made possible by what the chain claims are the 730 million ways to order a burger because of its extensive array of topping options. They join the menu in celebration of the concept’s 10th  birthday on August 30.

The Burgers are Mac’s Big Burger (two 4-oz. patties with two cheese slices, lettuce, pickles, onions and house South St. Sauce; The South St. Chicken Club (a club sandwich with grilled chicken breast, bacon, cheese, tomatoes lettuce and garlic mayo); The Cheesy Vegetarian (a veggie patty with cheese); and The Naughty Vegetarian (a veggie patty with bacon).

Hungry for more ideas, 30-unit South St. Burger is inviting diners to submit photos of their customized burgers via Twitter, Instagram or the chain’s Facebook page. Winners get Burger Bucks (vouchers that can be redeemed for anything in the restaurant).

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That Carl’s Jr. and UFC fighter Ronda Rousey found each other makes sense. The chain likes female spokespersons because its clientele skews heavily male. That it’s for something described as “sweet and savory” less so. Beginning August 31, she’ll appear in TV spot for Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s new Cinnamon Swirl French Toast Breakfast Sandwich.

The build is a fluffy folded egg with melting American cheese; choice of sausage, ham or bacon; a maple syrup sauce drizzle and two slices of Cinnamon Swirl French Toast. Suggested price is $2.99, or $4.69 in a combo with hash browns and a beverage.

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The epitome of McDonald’s strategic shift allowing local markets to determine local LTOs may be the reappearance of Mighty Wings at its stores in Detroit now. During the item’s national appearance in 2013, the chain sold 40 million pounds of its 50 million-pound stock. McDonald’s many haters in the media gleefully called the item a flop. I thought 40 million pounds was a lot of chicken to have sold.

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