Signature Series: Burgers

Operators share the burgers that keep customers coming back for more.

Smoked Cheddar Cheeseburger
Michigan State University, East Lansing

When Kurt Kwiatkowski, corporate chef of Culinary Services at MSU, set out to create a signature item for the department's new Eat at State ON THE GO food truck, he quickly decided he wanted an item that showcased the campus's commitment to local products.

"That led me to our MSU beef," Kwiatkowski says. "At first, it was going to be a bacon cheeseburger, but I started playing around with the cheeses from our campus dairy and I fell in love with the smoked cheddar."

Kwiatkowski says the smoked cheddar was too strong on its own, so he decided to cut it with a tradition sharp cheddar, also from the campus dairy. The burger also features product from the campus organic farm, when in season, as well as a bun from a local bakery.

"The nice thing is you get a little bit of the carmelization of the meat, which gives a really nice meat flavor. Then you get the smoky sensation from that cheddar, the crunch of the lettuce, the acid of the tomatoes and the bite from the red onion. It all just plays really nice together. People have told me it's the best burger they've ever had. I’d say about 40% of our truck sales is the burger."

See full recipe

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
baked bread

Instead of sourcing value-added product to reduce labor, the food and nutrition team at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison outsources its baked goods to a local shop that hires only formerly incarcerated workers. The bakery was able to hire two new former inmates in order to keep up with the volume needs of the hospital. “We want to be really entrenched in the community, not just have a building that sits in the center of Madison,” says Amy Mihm, clinical nutrition specialist for the hospital.

Managing Your Business
food symbols allergens

Bellevue School District in King County, Wash., has reduced the instances of life-threatening allergic reactions by 94% since 2013. Wendy Weyer, business manager for nutrition services, says that success stems from direct communication with the district’s 20,000 students.

Q: What was the first thing you did to start reducing allergic reactions?

A: More than five years ago, we changed our menu signage to provide information to students on what the common allergens were on all the foods that were served at every station. We use symbols such as an egg or a wheat stalk for younger...

Ideas and Innovation
cold storage boxes

When working with a small footprint, the back of the house often gets squeezed in the interest of preserving precious seats. But as storage space contracts, these restaurant operators are getting resourceful with everything from shelves to ceiling height to inventory in ways that FSDs can apply, too.

“When we were first tasked with figuring out smaller footprints, when it came to interiors, it was like a bad riddle,” says Trinity Hall, SVP of development for Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, which shrunk its prototype from 2,200 square feet to 1,800. “Let’s make it smaller and...

Menu Development
induction cooking nuts

Thanks to prolific fast casuals such as Chipotle, guests have come to expect a certain level of customization in their dining options. For almost 50% of Generation Zers, customization is a deciding factor when purchasing food, according Technomic’s 2016 Generational Consumer Trend Report . Taking customization even further, operations are handing over even more control to customers with both build-your-own and cook-your-own stations.

Elder Hall’s My Kitchen station at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., offers a daily rotating ingredient bar with items such as stir-fry,...

FSD Resources