State of Play : State of Play - Issue 1
30 |EAT&DRINK | N owadays, you’ll find cafes, diners, pubs, bars and even fine-dining restaurants serving up burgers, catering to all generations from the young, the hip and the old. Burgers have jumped up from the dull end of the menu and transformed into a refined, affordable and easy to eat two-handed meal. They are a best-seller on menus and a major advantage of burgers is that they are quick to prepare and cost-effective to make. McDonald's who opened their first hamburger store in Australia in 1971, have well and truly mastered fast and cheap. However what steers people away from typical ‘fast food’ and into new burger joints is the combination of getting food quickly, but also more fresh, tasty and less processed. Restaurants such as Mary’s in Sydney and 8bit in Melbourne are using some of the best grass-fed beef in Australia and quality local produce while churning out hundreds of burgers each day. And how do they still do it successfully? As burgers are relatively quick to make, regardless of ingredients you can still meet high demands during busy periods and avoid customers leaving disappointed. DELIVERING SUPERSIZED GOODNESS The versatility of burgers is helping shift the traditional hamburger into the realm of the exciting and the unfamiliar. There are numerous directions a venue can take to create unique burger offerings. It could be gourmet burgers, brioche burgers, bun-less burgers, mini sliders and last year we saw the trend of monster burgers with restaurants and cafes creating sky- high indulgent buns. In Sydney’s northern beaches, the Dee Why Hotel is kicking burger goals thanks to its mighty Trufflenator burger. People travel from far and wide to try the dangerously cheesy and truffle-laden burger and its popularity is contributing to the success of the hotel. Similarly, in Melbourne, you’ll find Grand Trailer Park Taverna making big American diner burgers with sides and desserts including alcoholic thickshakes, mac and cheese croquettes, chilli cheese chips and giant waffle stacks. These guys deliver big on quality and flavour but also have a creative take on sides to complement their grand burgers. TARGETING THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS There has also been a shift with health conscience consumers to create more guilt- free burger options. You can now expect to see gluten free, vegan, vegetarian or dairy free varieties across restaurant menus. Grill’d Healthy Burgers, a dominant player in the healthy burger space has continued to reinvent their menu by adding more veggie pattie varieties, low-carb superbuns, zucchini fries and avocado chips. Social media has assisted in the new wave of burger crazes with restaurants and patrons sharing their best mouth-watering burger snaps for instant clickbait. Especially with unusual traits like black charcoal buns or green matcha buns as found at Matcha Mylkbar in Melbourne, with people reacting instantly and swooning to get their seat at table. Or even willing to queue up for hours to get their latest burger fix. LOW RISK, BIG RETURNS Burgers are generally a low risk menu item, which may be why many fine dining chefs are also investing in the burger hype. While THE BURGER BOOM The humble burger has seen a resurgence over the last few years. The enjoyment Aussies get from eating burgers means savvy businesses can reap the benefits of latching onto the burger boom.
State of Play - Issue 2 Vic