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Jun 26, 2012 09:08 AM

Are Burgers getting more expensive or am I just seeing things?

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.

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  1. beef has gotten VERY expensive in the past two years. I generally grind my own hamburger, but get sticker shock when the everyday price for 85% lean hamburger in the supermarket is $5.69 lb.
    Therefore it is no surprise that the typical restaurant 8+ ounce hamburger with trimmings is $10+.
    Afterall, a restaurant has to figure at least food cost times 3 in order to cover costs and make a profit.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bagelman01

      Hard to believe that in the 70s ground meat was the go-to protein because it was so cheap. My friend used to say of her mom: if it didn't have hamburger in it, she didn't know how to cook it.

      1. re: pdxgastro

        when I giot my first apartment in the 1970s, mom tpld me never to buy the 39 cent/lb hamburger at the supermarket, but to get the 49 or 59 cent per pound variety as it wasn't all fat.

    2. Everything's getting more expensive, and burgers are no exception. But are burgers outstripping inflation? Wouldn't surprise me. I've certainly noticed that fast food--including burgers--is no longer cheap. Not so very long ago you could get a sizable fast food meal for less than six bucks. Nowadays nine samolians is my norm. That's a 33% increase in roughly 15 years.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        haven't looked in detail, but that's less than 2% compounded annually. seems pretty reasonable.

        1. re: FattyDumplin

          Perilagu, actually re-read your email.... going from under 6 --> 9 is actually 50% increase which is closer to 2.7% annual inflation. probably still pretty reasonable, especially on a low price item, where if you're going to move prices, you're likely to move in small absolute increments which still translate into meaningful percentage increments.

          On a side note, what's really outstripping inflation is college tuition!!! With two young kids in tow, I'm scared of where I need to be in 15 years monetarily. That is a big cost that is absolutely outstripping inflation!

          1. re: FattyDumplin

            Hey, folks, the rising cost of college tuition and other inflationary items is really too far afield for Chowhound, as is general kvetching about politicians. We've removed some some posts and ask people to let that part of the discussion go. Thanks.

        2. re: Perilagu Khan

          Honestly I hardly ever eat fast food and when I do its almost never a burger. Too many fast foodsish but better places out there with a burger that 5 time better for a buck or 2 more.
          Your right its gotten too expensive especially for the quality of what you get.

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            Everything's getting more expensive, and burgers are no exception.

            Um, no.


          2. In addition to everything being more expensive (including operating costs beyond food), chefs more than ever are concerned with where they get their food from. Meat from a grass-fed cow on a local farm is going to cost more than meat from a factory farm.

            8 Replies
            1. re: LeoLioness

              That makes a lot of sense and Im all for that. I don't mind paying up for something as long as they can reasonably prove to me its actually for a reason. A lot of place around here are using a new blend that seems to be the next thing. Its like a mix of like short rib , brisket and steak or something like that. So obviously thats going to cost more. I just need to find out of its actually better or not.

              1. re: loki993

                You can thank the "Burger Lab" from "A Hamburger Today" for that. Kenzii published a recipe for the perfect burger mix (after taste testing about five or six different blends, fat contents, etc.) which sounds a lot like what you've described.

                  1. re: FrankD

                    Can the use of different cuts really be attributed to a writer on A Hamburger Today? My butcher has been grinding blends for years. I suspect many others have too. The first time I did it was probably in 2001.

                    1. re: tommy

                      <Can the use of different cuts really be attributed to a writer on A Hamburger Today?>

                      Certainly not.

                      Like you, I've been using different blends for years as well as many others. I do think the seriouseats Hamburger Lab is a great resource for those wanting to make a better burger.

                      1. re: tommy

                        Maybe not, but he WROTE about it. ;o)

                        1. re: tommy

                          I don't know all the particulars but my father in law had a friend who made a VERY good living in the Philly area selling custom hamburger blends. I believe the time period was 1950's - 1980's

                  2. I noted prices for burgers in the $12-16 range in some of the Northern California restaurants I visited which were not fast food places but nice restaurants. I attributed it to the fact that most of these restaurants advertised the use of grass feed organic beef.

                    1. I don't know where you are paying $14 for a hamburger, but I'm guessing it's at a nice restaurant rather than (for example) Five Guys, where the double burger is half that. You are paying for the restaurant, not the hamburger.