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Posted on Monday, 1ˢᵗ July, 2024

In previous articles, we’ve discussed the secrets of a crowd-pleasing pub and the benefits of developing a dedicated game-day menu that meets the needs of footy fans.

In this special ‘Feeding the fans’ article, we explore why burgers are the perfect fodder for footy crowds.

According to UFS research, pubs, clubs, and sports bars could be doing more to attract sports-loving patrons by offering game-day menus loaded with dishes that are shareable, easy to eat, and cater for a diverse range of diets.

Burgers are an ideal stand, hold, and eat meal for patrons who are on their feet while cheering on the match-of-the-day on your venue’s big screens. But how can you be sure that your burgers will stand out from the competition?

TOP-OF-THE-TABLE BURGER TRENDS

The continued premium-isation of burgers can be a key to higher margins but also acknowledges the desire of diners to eat well when they eat out. Angus and wagyu beef now appear in many pub burgers, along with pulled pork, barramundi, and rockling. Monterey Jack, halloumi, provolone, and American cheeses are surging in popularity. Char-grilling is becoming commonplace while the breadth of burger ingredients now takes in a wide range of slaws, pickled and caramelised veggies, jalapeños, spinach, and shallots.

Indulgent burger buns instantly lift the profile of a stack and there is no shortage of options. Our research reveals sports bars, pubs, and clubs are moving in large numbers to milk, potato, brioche, and pumpkin buns to give new energy to their burgers. Even McDonald’s in America is turning away from its famous sesame-seed bun following a trial run in Australia. In a sign of evolving diner tastes, the Big Mac will be housed in a buttery brioche bun from late 2024.

With their universal appeal, it’s no surprise that wholesome ingredients and dietary diversity are being reflected in burgers. Fermentation is prominent in the form of tempeh, kimchi, and sourdough, while nearly all pub kitchens now offer gluten-free burger options. Plant-based burgers, typically with vegan patties, are being loaded with appetising ingredients such as Cajun-style sweet potato, field mushrooms, char-grilled veggies, and yuzu coleslaw.

The trend for top-and-toe sauces is spreading. These are combinations of two sauces at the opposite ends of a burger and typically comprise a dash of mayonnaise on the top bun and a relish or jam on the bottom bun. Combos we’ve seen on local menus include sriracha mayo and beetroot relish, chipotle aioli and tomato relish, truffle mayo and beetroot jam, and mustard mayo and tomato ketchup.

Increasingly, kitchens are adding ingredients with crunch for contrast. Butter lettuce is a simple addition, but onion rings and panko-coated proteins are also being employed to provide a juxtaposition to the traditional soft and flexible textures of a burger.

Other identifiable trends in burgers include the arrival of fusion flavours (most obviously Korean, Mexican, and Thai), the growth of sliders on share and starter menus, the appearance of rustic breads, the wide use of vegan mayonnaise to maintain flavour in plant-based burgers, and a new focus on beer and food pairings.

AROUND THE GROUNDS: 7 INSPIRING BURGERS FOR HUNGRY SUPPORTERS

Footy crowds can be incredibly lucrative, especially if your venue is able to sell plenty of high-margin meals to complement beverage sales.

Here are some of our favourite footy pub stacks* from across the land that are bound to have footy fans queuing at the kitchen counter:

The Aussie Lot by The Sporting Globe (Richmond): Australian grass-fed beef, streaky bacon, cheddar, char-grilled pineapple, beetroot, tomato, lettuce, guacamole, and BBQ sauce.

Chargrilled Lamb & Feta Burger by Warren View Hotel (Enmore): Grilled lamb, lettuce, onion, tomato relish, aioli, feta, and chips.

Tree Hugger Burger by Stock Exchange (Brisbane CBD): Potato burger bun, mixed veggie and lentil patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and secret sauce.

Korean Fried Chicken Burger by Richmond Social (Richmond): Kimchi, cos lettuce, tomato, and chipotle aioli and chips.

Beer-Battered Fish Burger by York 75 (Sydney CBD): Cheese, pickled chilli, Japanese mayo, sriracha, and chips.

Brisket Burger by Beach Road Hotel (Bondi Beach): Smoked brisket, provolone cheese, pickles, jalapeños, creamy slaw, and chipotle aioli with chips.

Double Porto Burger by Port Office Hotel (Brisbane CBD): Two wagyu patties with Swiss cheese, pickles, lettuce, and special Porto sauce.

HOW HELLMANN'S HELPS YOU CREATE THE PREFECT FOOTY BURGER

With a wide range of versatile, authentic, and scratch-made options that work with any menu, it’s no surprise that Hellmann’s is the world’s number one mayonnaise brand.

Made with 100% free-range egg yolks, vegetable oil, lemon juice and vinegar, Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise uses traditional ingredients for a scratch-made taste. Its authentic egg yolk recipe can be confidently used neat or as a base for your own secret burger sauces.

Extend your burger menu without compromising on taste or texture with Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise. With the same exceptional quality as Hellmann's Real, this is vegan mayonnaise as it should be.

When it comes to a reliable teammate in your quest to make the perfect burger for footy fans, Hellmann’s is your first pick on match day.

 UFS' TOP 5 FOOTY BURGER RECIPES

Hit the ground running and feed the footy crowds at your venue by adding one of our chef-approved burger recipes to your game-day menu.

Classic Cheese Burger—keep it simple yet delicious with a smashed Angus beef patty, cheese, pickles, onions, a special burger sauce, lettuce and tomato.

Fried Chicken Burger—southern fried chicken seasoning and chicken thigh marinated in buttermilk provides the succulent textures and flavours of this classic stack.

Americana Burger—game day comes to life with a smashed Angus beef patty, American cheese, pulled beef brisket, grilled onions, and our special burger sauce.

Deep-Fried Bacon Burger—add rich, steak-like flavours to your burger line-up with the addition of deep-fried streaky bacon and a coarse mince patty.

Crispy Fish Burger—the flavour kick of this popular pub burger comes courtesy of an on-trend jalapeño tartare sauce.

Find out more about HELLMANN’S FOOTY FEEDS
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