Burgers Still Rule the Roost Despite the Rise of Chicken Sandwiches on Restaurant Menus
CHICAGO — Although burgers have been a top item ordered at U.S. restaurants for decades, chicken has made a strong showing in recent years, as both the number of chicken restaurant concepts and types of chicken sandwiches have risen.
However, chicken hasn't knocked burgers out of the top spot yet, according to The NPD Group, which found that burgers remain the overall top-ordered sandwich.
Over the 12-month period ending February 2019, the average number of times a buyer purchased a chicken sandwich was 8.7 times, while burger purchase frequency was 14.7, according to Checkout, NPD's receipt harvesting service, which can follow the same buyer over time.
Burgers also remain on top when it comes to menu important and the percentage of all restaurant orders that include one, as they were included in 14.1 percent of all restaurant orders, compared to chicken sandwiches at 6.5 percent.
Despite this, chicken sandwiches rank No. 2 and are gaining ground, NPD said. Chicken sandwich services ordered during the year ending February 2019 rose 4 percent from the previous year at 4 billion servings. Meanwhile, burger orders were flat from one year ago at 8.6 billion ordered.
"Both burgers and chicken sandwiches are winners for foodservice and restaurant operators," said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. "Both are popular with consumers and both can be dressed up with different flavors and fixings to meet a variety of different tastes."