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Burgers precooked, frozen elsewhere are QSR ‘secret’

Editor, NRN: The article, “Fast feeders fill up menus with premium beef offerings,” was interesting. It’s great to see higher-quality offerings making their way into the most affordable segment of our industry.

But regarding the pioneers in this movement—the bigger burgers rolled out over the past few years by Carl’s Jr. and Burger King—it was puzzling to read through the entire article and not find a single mention of the dirty little secret: These big burgers aren’t cooked at the restaurant. They come in as frozen patties of already cooked ground beef.

Lamentably, it’s generally accepted among consumers that most chains, with some notable exceptions, aren’t cooking to order, despite some manipulative claims of being “made” to order—meaning assembled to order. I would imagine most fast-food customers have become accustomed to seeing those limp, gray patties pulled out of steaming drawers in the biggest chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s—but actual precooked burgers, as in not even cooked anywhere near the restaurant? Would consumers accept this fact if they were made aware of it?

It’s astonishing that nobody seems to be making anything of the fact that Carl’s Jr.’s “Six Dollar” burger and the Angus burgers at Burger King, among others, are cooked at a factory, frozen and sent in to be broiled again. That explains the excessive dryness that requires extra portions of mayo and ketchup to compensate.

I believe it’s incumbent upon industry periodicals to comment on products like these. Customers deserve to know if they are paying restaurant—even QSR—prices for what is actually a frozen, [factory-cooked] product.

J. Marc Mushkin Irvine, Calif.

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