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The Burger: How Classic American Food Made the Classic American Franchise

We’re going to play a word association game. When you read the words “franchise business”, what first springs to your mind? If you’re like most people, you imagined a fast food restaurant, also known as a quick service restaurant (QSR). And when you read “fast food franchise”, what type of food do you first think of? There are plenty of foods that are popular with franchise businesses, including pizza, sandwiches, and ice cream.  But what is the classic American food that you would find in a restaurant franchise? A burger.

Fast Food Franchises

The fast food franchise is arguably one of the most American innovations there is. But when did it start? When was the first restaurant franchise? When was America’s first fast food restaurant? When was the first hamburger made? As with most historical questions, the answers to these are murky. But we have a general idea.

Despite its name, the hamburger, as we would recognize it today, was probably invented in the United States in the late 19th or early 20th century, maybe in Texas, maybe in Connecticut, maybe in New York. Maybe, by happenstance, in all three. The name’s similarity to the German city of Hamburg is no coincidence. The beef patty was known as (or resembled) a Hamburg Steak, which either came from Hamburg or was named thus simply because it was popular among the sizeable German population in America at the time. (Frankfurters from Frankfurt and wieners from Vienna share similar origin stories). This handheld food was easy to eat and was popular with blue collar workers and laborers.

It wasn’t long before we had the first burger restaurant franchise. You can date this innovation to 1921, 1924, or 1935. It depends on which criteria are most important to you. The upshot: by the 1950’s with increased wealth in America, automobile ownership being common, and the development of the interstate highway system, fast food franchises were popping up everywhere. And pretty much all of them served burgers. And the ones that served burgers via a drive thru did especially well.

Burger Franchise Opportunities

But what does this all mean to you, dear reader? If you’re interested in burger franchise opportunities, do you need to know the whole history of the food? Absolutely not. While it is all very interesting, all you have to know is that Americans love burgers and they love getting them quickly and for an inexpensive price. Burger franchises can do that. Burgers are classic American food and that makes burger franchise opportunities very popular indeed.

When looking at burger franchise opportunities, you should understand that you have options. A fast food burger restaurant allows you to serve patrons quickly, especially if you have a drive thru window. These locations are typically smaller and cost less overhead than sit-down restaurants or bars and pubs. But these other styles of restaurant do have the potential to bring in more revenue. It all depends on what you want and what is most in demand in the area around you.

Be The Boss

To learn more about burger franchises and to peruse a list of burger franchise opportunities, please contact us.

Rob Lancit Vice President-Internet Brands, MFV Expositions
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