Burger Chains Beef Up for Summer

06/25/2015 10:13 am ET | Updated Jun 25, 2016

Burger chains all put their menus on diets but you know how it is: summer comes and good intentions melt away. A parade of new items is marching onto burger-chain menus or into their test-market pipelines, and no chain has been more active than McDonald's, which took an oath to streamline its menu.

McDonald's is testing a pulled pork sandwich in Indiana. This comes after local markets were given the option to add new Shakin' Flavor Fries to their menus. Some markets are trialing a Signature Double Burger as part of a Lovin' Value Menu. Having already upgraded its grilled chicken with the Artisan product, McDonald's also has been testing a new recipe for its crispy chicken: Buttermilk Crispy Chicken. That has tested in Delaware and Arkansas and should roll wider soon. A Bacon & White Cheddar McMuffin is getting a tryout in Chicago.

Then there are new McCafé items: Real Lemonades (classic, frozen strawberry and regular strawberry lemonades); new Peach and Raspberry Sweet Teas; and the Green Apple Smoothie in test in Chicago. Horchata and Oreo Frappés are in many markets, too.


Burger King started with a new Xtra Long Pulled Pork Sandwich, but was hungry for more. Now comes the A.1. Hearty Mozzarella Cheeseburger (above): two quarter-pound patties topped with thick-cut bacon, melted Mozzarella cheese, lettuce, onions, and A.1. Thick & Hearty sauce on a toasted, brioche-style bun.

Last month, Burger King was testing $1.99 Grilled Hot Dogs and $1.49 Corn Dogs in Michigan and Maryland, as reported by Consumerist.


Jack in the Box just added its Black Pepper Cheeseburger last month, but it already is testing another burger. As reported here, the Double Jack double cheeseburger (above) with lettuce and tomato is testing in undisclosed markets.

Carl's Jr. already has done pulled pork burgers. But pork is popular and cheaper than beef so this week it added a Grilled Pork Chop Biscuit with egg and cheese.

Wendy's has its Crispy Dill Chicken Sandwich and has its Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad back. It has recently tested a black-bean burger. It's loading up on beverages, too: Honest Tropical Green Tea; Blackberry Lemonade; and Blueberry Pineapple and Orange Mango FruiTeas.

Culver's has taken a break from burgers with the introduction of its Crispy Southwest Chicken Sandwich. It's a crispy chicken fillet with habanero pepper-Jack cheese and creamy jalapeno ranch sauce on Culver's new ciabatta roll.


Red Robin has its Genisys Burger, part of tie-in with the Terminator: Genisys film. Denny's The Thing Burger (above) is part of a new "Slamtastic 4" summer menu tied to the upcoming Fantastic Four film. Denny's burger is a beef patty topped with crispy hash browns, an egg cooked to order, Cheddar cheese, two crispy bacon strips and something called Thing Sauce. It's on a Cheddar bun.

West Coast chain Ruby's Diner has a "Summer Bar-B-Que!" menu with a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, BBQ Chicken Melt and a Maui BBQ Burger. That burger is a half pounder topped with lightly seared pineapple and served with choice of fries or coleslaw. East Coast chain Roy Rogers has brought back its Tumbleweed Burger for summer, as reported here yesterday.

Growing chains have loaded their menus, too. Back Yard Burgers has a new three-item Stackers burger line, each of which has two one-fifth-pound patties. The Counter's summer addition is a Carne Asada Burger with grilled skirt steak marinated in fajita seasonings topped with fried tomatillos and served with whipped avocado sauce. Umami Burger will wait until September to unveil its burger developed with actress Mindy Kaling. Burger 21's newest is the Over Easy Bacon Cheesy Burger

Canadian chain Harvey's new Three Cheese & Bacon burger is available as an Angus beef upgrade or even as a hot dog with the same toppings. Another Canadian brand, Triple O's new BC Chicken Burger has Canadian-sourced chicken and Cheddar.

Across the pond, London-based Gourmet Burger Kitchen has unveiled the Old Colonial burger at some locations. The build is a 30-day dry-aged steak burger with red Leicester cheese, crispy bacon, pickles, Bangkok slaw and "beef ketchup" on a glazed sesame seed bun. Rival Honest Burgers honors the town where it began with the Brixton Burger: jerk beef, ginger beer bacon, mild cheddar, pineapple relish, pickles and jerk BBQ sauce with chips, of course.

And it isn't even July yet.