According to a new report from foodservice industry consultant Technomic, consumers are willing to pay more for a specialty burger, especially a premium burger, than they are for a standard burger, regardless of restaurant segment.

“American consumers take their burgers seriously. It may be one area of foodservice where they are less willing to cut back, despite the current economic environment,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic. “They expect to pay more for a higher-quality, better burger, and are willing to do so because the value proposition is heightened.”

Hamburger trends, consumer purchase behavior, and menu insights are detailed in Technomic’s new Burger Consumer Trend Report.

Select findings include: consumers overwhelmingly (75 percent) ranked quality of meat as the first or second most important attribute in choosing a burger; one out of three consumers (35 percent) say they will pay more for a burger they consider to be premium, down from 45 percent in 2007; some 72 percent of consumers said a high-quality type of meat (Angus, Wagyu) makes a burger “premium,” while 71 percent responded high-quality cut of meat (sirloin) does; today, 27 percent of restaurant customers prefer to purchase burgers made with Angus beef, compared to 20 percent in 2007, while 19 percent of consumers reported they would prefer to purchase sirloin burgers, up from 13 percent in 2007; and nearly half of consumers (47 percent) said they think restaurants should offer a variety of burger sizes, ranging from mini-burgers to half-pound burgers.