In Focus
FAST CASUAL | Staff Reporter, Australia

Burger Project looks to elevate Australia's burger scene through premiumisation

Find out how their Black Label concept will capitalise on the evolution of fast casual dining.

Burgers have always been a staple in the fast food industry, reaching iconic status through well-known brands around the world.

But along with menu innovations, the rise of healthier options and a growing demand for a better dining experience, some QSRs - old and new - look to flip the image of the typical burger.

One of them is Burger Project, who is known for their hand-crafted range of grass-fed burgers. Recently, they successfully opened their Black Label restaurant that offers a deluxe range of burgers. Design-wise, the restaurant at Grosvenor Place in Sydney features a sleek aesthetic with dark timber finishes and chocolate leather furnishings.

QSR Media spoke to the folks behind Black Label by Burger Project, who gave their thoughts on Australia's burgeoning burger scene and how the rise of fast casual dining inspired the creation of the deluxe brand.

QSR Media: What's been going on at Burger Project?

We’ve been adding some nice new features to our Burger Project stores as part of the constant evolution of the brand. Some stores are having mini-refreshes. We’re adding self-serve soda dispensers offering unlimited refills, large-screen TVs to tune in to sport and music channels, and more greenery to lighten and brighten up the customer experience.

We’re also partnering local craft brewers so we can offer customers an expanded range of craft beer. We also continue to roll out our popular Limited Edition burgers every eight weeks, which gives customers something new and different to try.

QSR Media: Launching the Black Label concept turned out to be a success. Looking back, what prompted its launch?

Burger Project is one of the core brands that Rockpool Dining Group has decided to focus on for expansion. It’s a proven brand, which is supported by a positive growth outlook for the overall burger category in Australia. After three years, we’ve decided to dial things up and offer something a little more deluxe. Burger Project was inspired by the premium Rockpool Bar & Grill burgers after all, so we’ve decided to offer something that’s a bit of hybrid of the Rockpool Bar & Grill and Burger Project offerings.

QSR Media: How will the service differ from the usual fast casual fare in Burger Project's restaurants?

Black Label is traditional Burger Project boosted in every way: think bigger patties (180g, compared to 140g), a wider range of burgers with unique flavour profiles, a breakfast menu, and a large bar offering. The collection is bolstered by a menu of flavourful salads, sides, dips, sodas and shakes. We’ve brought some premium partners on board, too, including Sonoma Bakery and Mecca Coffee, so there will be a great breakfast offering, including Sonoma’s toasted linseed and sourdough served with different styles of eggs, avocado, bacon, mushrooms and sausages. The breakfast menu also features fresh juice, muesli, fruit salad, ricotta hot cakes and croissants.

An enriched bar focus serve ‘adult shakes’ with a hit of alcohol, a broad array of craft beers, wines, whiskies, and coffee through cocktails. Fast-casual service is replaced with casual service with meals and drinks delivered to the table.

QSR Media: What are the trends you are noticing in the fast casual restaurant market today?

We’re definitely seeing some evolution of fast-casual dining, with customers now expecting affordable and fast dine-in options with better service offerings and a level of comfort that encourages them to stay a little longer. Customers expect even more from fast-casual today, whether it’s being able to watch a sports game, settle in at the bar to explore an expanded beer menu, or having just a little more comfort in the overall experience. These customer expectations are behind the refresh of some of our original Burger Project stores, and have also inspired Black Label.

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