From ramen burgers to chicken katsu burgers and truffletake burger, restaurateurs and chefs have been experimenting a lot with this humble food. Forgot about some veggies/ chicken along with a processed cheese slice between the buns, burgers have become ‘gourmet’ and ‘healthy’ these days with chefs and restaurateurs known for serving fine-dining style food all playing with a ‘messy’ burger; all thanks to the consumption and sales of burgers that went up by around 9 per cent as per recent survey.
A ‘gourmetlicious’ affaire
If we look internationally, Chef Robbert Jan de Veen of De Daltons diner in Voorthuizen, Netherlands has created a burger for 5,000 euro, which is close to Rs 4.5 lakhs. Called as ‘The Golden Boy’, the burger has all the expensive ingredients that one would dream of eating. Similarly, if we look at Indian burger scenario, restaurateurs like Riyaaz Amlani, Zorawar Kalra who have redefined the casual dining and fine-dining scenario respectively have launched a burger brand all catering to the gourmet diners.
“Our burgers at Bun & Only have been developed keeping the taste preferences of the clients in mind. The elements that we use in our burgers such as - homemade ketchup, in house breads, various sauces and salsas - teriyaki, homemade bbq, guacamole, buffalo sauce, burnt butter bacon mayo and blue cheese crumble elevate the burger eating experience. We also offer peri peri fries and truffle parmesan fries which accompany our burgers,” shared Sameer Uttamsingh, Co-Founder Bun & Only that was born a year ago when they saw a gap in the market for wholesome, gourmet burgers.
After Chef Akriti Malhotra finished her culinary education in the US, she saw the gap in a fast-casual gourmet burger place that serves great quality food in a fast-food format. “We were one of the first ones to start in January 2018 to serve gourmet burgers made from fresh ingredients with all our patties, sauces being made in-house and it somehow clicked. People appreciated the relaxed fast-casual vibe concerning dine-in and connected with the brand as authentic, young, and energetic and they loved it,” added Malhotra of AKU’s -The Brrgrr Co. that is a home-grown fast-casual brand, synonymous with good food served quickly. Known for their juicy and meaty burgers, delivering fresh food made with real ingredients.
On the other hand known for their Asian delicacies duo Chef Seefah and Karan Bane introduced a burger menu comprising of subtle Thai and Japanese for those with gusto for meat and Asian seasoning.
Driven by customer need
As stats says it all, the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 18% during 2021-2025 due to increasing urbanization, rapid expansion in food delivery services, expanding young & working population, growing number of dual-income families and rising disposable income in the country.
The culture of binge-watching while also enjoying your favorite thing to eat and burgers that is believed to be that one favorite food-item because they aren’t very heavy and hence can be eaten at multiple times while doing office work or while catching up on a movie or a show. A lot of time, consumer’s hand is believed to be the reason behind the rise in the consumption of light yet tasty food option like a burger.
“Our target market is the well travelled and connoisseurs of good food. We see that there is a large market of people who know great food and ingredients,’ added Singh by pointing that gourmet burgers are here to stay. It's a different experience to have this quality of burger in the comfort of your own home. The brand is also aiming at at opening another kitchen in South Bombay within the next two months and a third kitchen in the suburbs by the end of the year.
“We always wanted to keep it simple. The focus has always been on quality and what is readily available and work with those things through the year and then introduce specials such as the Truffle Shroom Burger ( Portobello with Truffle Oil ). We have stuck to our motto of ingredients taste better,” added Malhotra who focus on customers who enjoy good quality food served quickly. She also sees a huge potential for AKU's in every Tier 1 and even Tier 2 city.