Fuddruckers has added a half-pound elk burger to its premium priced Exotics line of burgers.
The nearly 200-unit Austin, Texas-based chain has offered a selection of game-meat burgers for some time, but they were previously marketed piecemeal and as one of the system’s Burgers with Benefits. In May, Fuddruckers repackaged the products into the Fudds Exotics line for systemwide promotion, and the first featured item, a half-pound buffalo burger, was “one of the most successful rollouts in recent years,” said Fuddruckers representative Kelly Pascal Gould.
Along with the elk and buffalo burgers, Fuddruckers' exotics line includes a half-pound wild boar burger, a 7-ounce ostrich burger and 5-ounce salmon burger.
In promotional materials, the chain touts the “all-natural, free-range grass-and-grain fed” game burgers and “wild-caught” salmon fillet, as well as some of the individual products' desirable nutritional traits, such as the buffalo being “a good source of iron” and the salmon’s Omega-3 fatty acids.
By offering alternatives to beef, Fuddruckers is differentiating itself from a number of other chains that have recently introduced or promoted regional specialty burgers, such as Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and Johnny Rockets, as well as competitors that have maintained a more general approach while gilding their sandwich lilies with a wide range of premium toppings, including The Cheesecake Factory and its “Glamburger” menu.
Fuddruckers officials said the systemwide average price of a half-pound burger made with the chain’s signature Fudds Prime American-raised, vegetable or grain-fed beef is $5.69. Half-pound exotic burgers, they said, range in price from $7.99 to $9.99, depending on the game meat and market in question.
To raise consumer awareness about the elk burger and the entire Fudds Exotics menu, Fuddruckers this week launched a Facebook.com contest for fans called Exotic Fridays, which gives participants a chance to a $50 gift certificate in exchange for their posting of exotics icon on their Facebook profile page.
The game meat products, like all Fuddruckers burgers, are ordered at the service counter, cooked to order, placed in buns baked in-house and then “built” or dressed by customers to their liking from a variety of condiments and toppings at the chain’s Market Fresh Produce and Fixins' Bar.
For the elk burger, Fuddruckers suggests that it be ordered grilled to “medium” well done and topped with Swiss cheese and grilled onions.
Elk burgers have been available in Fuddruckers restaurants since July 6 and, in the first few days, have been strong sellers, Pascal Gould said.
Though Fudds Exotics are part of a systemwide marketing initiative, Fuddruckers pointed out that some items, such as the ostrich burgers, are seasonal because of supply or other issues, and that offerings may vary by region, depending on local taste preferences.
Contact Alan J. Liddle at [email protected].