Burger kings & queens: Average American chows down on 60 patties a year

NEW YORK — Burgers are the go-to menu choice for one in five Americans. In a poll of 2,000 self-identified hamburger enthusiasts, 58 percent admit to frequently ordering burgers when dining out. In fact, the average respondent eats about five burgers per month, with baby boomers eating the fewest, at about three to four each month.

That means the average American chows down on about 60 burgers per year.

What makes the perfect burger?

Respondents seem to care more about the quality of the patty (33%) than what type of meat or plant-based ingredients it’s made from (26%). While beef patties appeal to the largest number of respondents (52%), alternative options like chicken (45%) and even veggie patties (35%) have plenty of fans as well these days.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of White Castle, the poll reveals that when it comes to branching out with their burger order, respondents are more likely to stick to a traditional burger over something new or innovative (33% vs 16%).

When asked what would encourage them to deviate from their go-to, one respondent needs, “something that is completely different from any burger I have ever eaten.”

Americans also prefer ordering a burger exactly off the menu than customizing their own (42% vs 23%). As it turns out, a new burger on a restaurant menu is the most popular way to find something different to try, according to 40 percent of respondents.

“The burger today is a source of physical and emotional nourishment for so many,” says Lisa Ingram, president and CEO of White Castle, in a statement. “It’s gratifying to see the continued devotion to the classic burger, as well as the growing appetite for an ever evolving landscape of specialty burgers. Further proof that when you meld beef, onion, pickle and bun as your starting point, you never know where it might lead.”


Bringing back those burger memories

Almost two-thirds of the poll (63%) are likely to try a burger that evokes nostalgia. So, it’s no surprise that one-third say the perfect burger reminds them of good times with family and friends.

Americans add that the perfect burger also evokes memories of bonding with family and friends (28%) and simpler times (25%). Regardless, four in five respondents enjoy eating meals with their family and friends.

One in three (35%) say the perfect burger means they can enjoy it in their favorite setting — whether that’s at a restaurant or their grandmother’s house. Respondents would reportedly travel an average of 34 miles for the perfect burger, but about one-third (31%) would travel more than 40 miles to satisfy their craving.

The average millennial is willing to travel the furthest (37 miles on average), while baby boomers were most likely to stay close to home (23 miles).

“Burgers have long been a staple of American cookouts, summer holidays and family gatherings,” Ingram says. “People seek nostalgia in sharing a burger with friends, taking them back to childhood get-togethers filled with memories of connection, satisfaction and delicious bites.”