Are Burgers on the Way Out?

From where we sit, it looks like burger chains – those like Super Duper, which offers a higher-quality, fresh, more expensive burger –  are doing great. But Business Insider reports that of the 100 biggest restaurant chains in the United States, three of the five fastest-growing are chicken concepts. The chicken sector has been the No. 1 category in the fast-food business by purchase consideration since last April, when it eclipsed the burger sector. And by the way, the Super Duper chicken sandwich, which is broiled, is, well, super! 

All of the chains seem to be rushing in. Even Morgan Spurlock, of "Super Size Me" fame, tested a pop-up fried chicken restaurant in Ohio last fall. 

Taco Bell has the Naked Chicken Chalupa, which has a shell made out of fried chicken instead of a tortilla. It's also testing fried chicken chips. McDonald's is expanding its test of the Chicken McGriddle breakfast sandwich. Arby's relaunched its fried chicken last August, and plans to add more chicken sandwiches to the menu. KFC is launching the Georgia Gold Chicken, its take on a niche regional favorite. 

So what’s causing this? Consumer interest is one reason, but another is sheer economics. In 2016, chicken prices were significantly lower than beef prices. 

Another is the perception of chicken and, yes, even fried chicken, as odd as that may seem. Shake Shack's popular Chick'n Shack sandwich and insightful chef David Chang's fried chicken concept Fuku are two reasons that fried chicken has become trendy. Chick-fil-A has also helped a great deal, as the No. 1 chicken chain’s clever ads helped it reach more than $6 billion in sales last year.   

Can’t wait to see the ads touting fried chicken as a healthy alternative -- not! Grilled chicken is just fine.

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