Outback adds premium, grass-fed burger

As healthier options are becoming common place in restaurants, Outback has added a grass-fed burger to the menu.

Brandon Wade/AP Images/File
Regional Vice President of Outback Steakhouse Jason Brooks, left, NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick, center, and Folds of Honor Senior Vice President Major Ed Pulido pose for a photo with a Bloomin' Onion® during a Military Appreciation Dinner, Thursday, November 5, 2015 at Outback Steakhouse in Grapevine, Texas. Outback has a new burger.

Burgers continue to be casual dining’s go-to menu tactic for building check average and traffic. The latest example is Outback Steakhouse, which is taking a break from promoting its Bloomin’ Onions to introduce a new premium burger to its menu.

Its new Grass-Fed Burger with Aged Cheddar is described as a “100% grass-fed, sustainably raised premium beef patty.” Toppings are aged Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a garlic aïoli.

This isn’t Outback’s first burger: The menu already lists The Bloomin’ Burger (topped with Bloomin’ Onion petals, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and spicy signature Bloom Sauce), The Outbacker Burger (topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mustard and choice of American, Swiss, provolone or Cheddar cheese) and the Double Burger (two grilled patties topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo on a grilled brioche bun).

But the new Grass-Fed Burger is premium priced at $11.99 (prices vary by market, of course). That suggests it’s aimed at check building, since Outback’s value proposition at the moment is lunch combinations starting at $6.99. Offers like that are aimed at increasing customer counts. NPD says the average burger price at the casual-dining tier is $9.02, compared with $5.62 at fast-casual restaurants.

The NPD Group earlier this year released research showing how important burgers and lunch have become for casual-dining chains such as Outback and Applebee’s. While burger servings industrywide were flat for the 12-month period ended June 2015, burger servings at casual-dining restaurants were up 3% and lunch was the segment’s only daypart showing growth.

Applebee’s last year introduced its “All-In Burgers” line, and now drop pricing to $6.99 every Monday night to lure the football crowd. It’s even throwing in free refills on fries and house chips. The Old Chicago casual-dining chain has jumped on the crowdsourcing bandwagon with a “Create the Ultimate Old Chicago Burger” promotion. Winning burger will be a 2016 LTO.

——————–

You’ve likely noticed the trend in recent Q3 restaurant sales reports: modest gains due primarily to higher checks. It was true in Q2 as well, as evidenced by The NPD Group’s data on the global foodservice market: most growth is coming from higher spending/check.

The U.S. posted a small gain in customers, a slightly larger bump up in check. Canada saw a decline in customer visits for the second consecutive quarter; China saw gains in both check and customers; the struggling Russian foodservice market saw a 4% decline in traffic coupled with a roughly 8% spike in check.

With its Average Eater Check of $7.18 in Q2, the U.S. ranks second only to France, according to NPD data.

This article first appeared at BurgerBusiness.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Outback adds premium, grass-fed burger
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2015/1119/Outback-adds-premium-grass-fed-burger
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe