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

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Managing Your Business
wage feud business

As plans to increase the minimum wage surge ahead in states such as New York and California, operators eventually will feel the reverberations shake up labor costs for more than just hourly workers. As associate wages gain on manager salaries, operators will have to answer a call for reciprocal increases. FSD spoke with operators who advised going gently into the brave new world of heightened labor costs, investing in talent and making cuts elsewhere; however, they did offer three perfectly proactive tactics to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Keep talking

Even though...

Menu Development
craft beer flight
A draw for happy hour...

San Francisco restaurateur Charles Phan plans to serve beer and wine, and depending on liquor licensing, perhaps cocktails as well. “For faculty and staff on campus, it will be a really wonderful place to come to and have a glass of wine,” Wolch says. “Right now, we have The Faculty Club bar, which is a very historic spot, but this is going to be much more contemporary.”

And for morning coffee...

Phan’s plan for made-to-order coffee is bound to be a boon for both faculty and students. “We’ll have a brand-new espresso machine,” Phan says. Wolch adds, “Most...

FSD Resources