Trends and Toasting: Burgers With three in five consumers saying that they love burgers (Mintel), this staple of the American diet isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The trends around this popular item, however, do continue to change and align with current consumer preferences. Here are a few of these trends — along with insight on how the right toaster can help operators deliver a consistent, quality product while meeting them. Size Variety Customization continues to be a priority to consumers, and restaurants are adjusting their menus to accommodate a range of preferences. In early 2017, McDonald’s will roll out the Grand Mac and Mac Jr., larger and smaller versions of the classic Big Mac. The Grand Mac includes a bigger sesame seed bun and two beef patties that weigh a total of one-third of a pound before cooking, compared to one-fifth of a pound regular Big Mac. On the other end of the spectrum, the Mac Jr. is a single layer burger with no middle bun. Toasting the buns for this variety of burger sizes requires a toaster that can handle different bun sizes and shapes without slipping or sticking to create a consistent toast. Bold condiments According to Datassential, menu mentions of sriracha have grown more than 36 percent in the past year and 515 percent in the past four years. Wendy’s, Jack in the Box and McDonald’s have all had limited time offers (LTOs) with a spicy sriracha component throughout the last year. For sriracha and other bold condiments, the bun needs to be properly toasted so that the condiments aren’t absorbed by the bread — ensuring that the customer tastes all of the intended flavors. Gourmet buns According to research from Mintel, “nearly half of consumers say they want more premium burger buns at restaurants, giving rise to such bread as pretzel (up 97% on menus between 2012 and 2015), Kaiser (93%) and brioche (59%).” These artisan buns require a good toast to maintain a standard temperature throughout the sandwich. Toasters with dual belt technology or auxiliary heaters drive more heat into the bread product, making them well suited for these denser and thicker buns. Some of these buns can be more difficult to drive through a toaster, due to their tackiness or sheen. By utilizing a toaster with dual belt technology, the two sides of the bun are carried along moving conveyors to prevent slipping or sticking. The key to meeting these trends and maintaining product quality is a dedicated piece of toasting equipment. Some operators use a grill to toast their buns, but toasting on the grill wastes valuable time, energy and space — plus, it raises the risk of cross-contamination. The ideal bun-toasting solution is a purpose-built piece of equipment that frees up valuable kitchen space and delivers more consistent results. Antunes toasters are designed with the operators’ needs in mind. Learn more about Antunes’ advanced bun toasting capabilities in this video.