Arby’s surprising announcement that it is testing a venison burger(!) in a small number of locations is proof that there’s still plenty of mileage left in the old better burger trend. Built from a steak sourced from farm-raised deer and topped with frizzled onions and a sweet-tart berry sauce reminiscent of the Cumberland sauce that’s traditionally served with game, the new specialty—whether it’s widely accepted by mainstream consumers or not—also suggests the many ways in which food service operators can build their own signature burger specialties.
Did You Know? Three out of four consumers enjoy a burger. It’s all in pursuit of a sum that’s greater than its assorted parts.
Many burgermeisters insist that the bun or bread is crucial to a great burger—in fact, almost as important as the patty itself.
And there’s plenty of room for improvement beyond the generic hamburger roll:
Sliced sturdy bread, including rye and multigrain, whether plain or toasted
Flavored or specialty-grain roll (such as jalapeño or spelt)
Lettuce (for a carb-free alternative)
For sliders, “mini” carriers such as biscuits
In addition to size (standard versus slider), there are numerous ways in which variety can be introduced to a burger menu with various proteins and other ingredients. Many customers, in fact, are seeking alternative burgers.
Premium beef (Angus, custom blend, grass-fed)
Bison or buffalo
Seafood (including tuna, salmon, and shrimp or scallops)
Meatless (bean- and/or grain-based), for vegetarians and vegans
Portabello mushroom cap
The Blend (meat blended with mushrooms)
Many burger builders pride themselves on over-the-top combinations that pair a patty with even more protein—cheese and bacon being obvious choices, but there’s so much more to it:
Specialty cheeses (such as Asiago or Gorgonzola)
Premium bacon (applewood smoked, locally sourced)
A fried egg
Other cured meats (ham, prosciutto, pepperoni)
Sliced roast beef, brisket, or smoked turkey
Pulled pork or chicken
This flexible category of burger additions is where signatures are born, creating one-of-a-kind uniqueness by adding an item that’s crave-worthy on its own to a burger build.
Cheese spread (pimento cheese, Boursin, cream cheese)
Onion rings or frizzled onions
Traditional or upgraded slaw (such as broccoli or Asian)
Potato chips or fries right on the burger, rather than on the side
Specialty pickles (bread-and-butter, quick-pickled red onions)
Macaroni and cheese
Get Started: Top a burger with a Stouffer’s® macaroni and cheese product for a high-impact (and high-value) menu offering.
Lettuce and tomato are standard accessories to a burger, providing both flavor and texture, but growing interest in vegetables provides a good excuse for exploring other options.
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Caramelized onions or grilled scallions
Lettuce-and-tomato alternatives (arugula, spinach, shredded Romaine, sundried tomato, fried green tomatoes)
Fresh herbs (cilantro, chives, basil)
Condiments and Sauces
Spicy (habanero relish, Sriracha, chipotles en adobo)
Global (harissa, Korean gochujang, hoisin)
Artisanal (housemade ketchup, beer-infused mustard, roasted-garlic mayo)
Sophisticated (aioli, pesto)
Sweet chile garlic sauce
Green Goddess or Ranch dressing
Did You Know? Nestlé Professional has lots of products that can be used as is or combined with other ingredients to create unique condiments and sauces, including Stouffer’s Alfredo sauces and Queso Cheese Dip; Trio® sauces and gravies; Chef-mate cheese sauces; and Minor’s sauces.