Fast Food Titans Launch Battle of the Big Burgers

Race Heats Up for a Better, Bulkier (and Cheaper) American Classic

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The burger breakdown

CHICAGO ( -- If marketing teaches us anything, it's that bigger is usually better. That's been especially true lately for hamburgers.

As Americans eat at home more often, and the restaurant industry continues to suffer, an interesting race is shaping up all the way from the fast-food kitchen into the casual dining room: Who can make the biggest, juiciest, tastiest burger, while still providing the best "value"? While the plumped-up patty is pretty much the same, the point of difference comes in dressing it up with condiments and toppings -- except the differences aren't so different anymore.

The quick-service big burger, for example, usually employs a patty or two of quality beef (usually Angus), premium buns, two slices of cheese, red onion, lettuce and tomato (McDonald's and Wendy's also offer bacon.) This new must-have menu item is now appearing on fast-food menus with the average price point, including fries and a drink, hovering around the $7 mark.

Players more on the casual-dining side -- or, fast feeders such as Burger King trying to steal share from them -- are meanwhile larding fried onions and steak sauce on their burgers, which generally cost a bit more. Above is Ad Age's guide to the battle of the burgers.

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