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Jun 26, 2012 08:49 AM

Is it just me or are burgers getting expensive?


As a burger lover I'm always on the lookout for the next best burger. I used to think I could get a good one for 7 or 8 dollars max. every now and them you find a gem for even less. Thing is I'm starting to see a trend towards the more expensive. It seems that 9 and 10 dollar burgers are becoming the norm and I've seen them as high as 14 dollars. I mean I love a good burger but when your making them nearly as expensive as a steak I mean come on.

So first have you noticed a trend or is this just something in my head?

Secondly, this one I'm almost afraid it ask because I'm pretty sure I already know that answer, but are these new expensive burgers worth it?

It used to be If I wanted to go out to eat on the cheap a burger was the way to go to get something tasty. Its starting to seem like this may not be the case anymore.

  1. There was a special on Big Macs yesterday at $1 each. Seems about right. When you add in the marketing hype of Black Angus, organic, locavore, grass fed, and Wagyu, you have a massive price increase without a comparable increase in flavor. Except for the Wagyu.

    Add artisanal breads, proprietary sauces, organic veggies, and contented cows for obscure cheeses, and you have the recipe for a $20.00 burger. Now add the handcut fries cooked in goose fat, the contented cows milk shake or microbrew beer, and you are closer $40.00 than S30.00.

    Tip for seated dining and that is more than I spend on some dinners at restaurants here in town.

    The only long term downward trend I have noticed in the last decade is the cost of live Maine lobsters. Shipped to Florida.

    1. Yes, this is the trend in Michigan. Every new restaurant that opens, the burgers *start* at 9-10 dollars, with some restaurants going straight to 12-14. Often this is without a side. Perhaps it is worth it at a select few restaurants that are truly using top notch ingredients, but I believe most are just taking advantage by using buzzwords, like "local" (which is pretty ambiguous, I'm just saying), to 'explain' the price.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tokyo

        I've definitely noticed. Thats my biggest issue, I don't really have a problem paying more for something of better quality but dont just charge a price because everyone else is doing it.

      2. Yeah, the price of burgers might be getting high. Worst yet is that they're spoiling me where I won't eat cheaper burgers. Won't eat burgers at the big fast food chains like McD's, Wendys or Burger King. nothing less than 5 guys, Smash burger or Red Robin is worth eating. And I'm guessing your talkeing about burgers more expensive than the 3 I just mentioned.

        1. I think it's a broader question than just beef. But it can probably all be explained by simple supply and demand factors. First, one of the big costs in the meat industry is transportation - it costs a lot to ship that meat all over the place. With rising oil prices and higher gas prices, those costs are going to be reflected in the price of beef and other foods. Secondly, the price of corn has significantly increased over the past few years as demand has increased due to the use of corn in alternative energy fuels (i.e. ethanol). Corn is used in every part of our food system from feed for cattle to high fructose corn syrup - so that'll drive up prices as well. Finally, I'd bet that beef consumption is up in developing countries (i.e. Brazil, China) - it's a pretty well established fact that as people become richer, they eat more meat. I would bet that US exports of beef are up and this additional demand has led to increases in prices.

          Finally, a lot of restaurants are making an effort to source their meat from a more sustainable source or a perceived healthier option like grass fed. All of these things are going to lead to an increase in prices. I view it more as a stratification of the market - if you want your cheap burger, go to McDonalds or your local bar that serves up previously frozen patties. If you want a fresh ground/local/no hormones/grass fed burger, there are now more options for you than there were previously.

          1 Reply
          1. This topic is duplicated here: Please continue the discussion on that thread; we'll be locking this one. Thanks!