Chicago, May 15, 2019 — Burgers have been a top item ordered at U.S. restaurants for decades but chicken sandwiches have come on strong over the last several years. There are more chicken sandwich restaurant concepts and chicken sandwiches are appearing on more menus. So have burgers been knocked off their perch by chicken sandwiches? “No,” says The NPD Group, which daily tracks U.S. consumers use of restaurants and other foodservice outlets. Burgers still rule the roost and are the top sandwich ordered overall.

By the numbers, the average number of times a customer purchased a burger at a restaurant over the 12-month period ending February 2019 was 14.7 times and the customer purchase frequency of chicken sandwiches was 8.7, according to NPD’s receipt harvesting service, Checkout, which tracks the same buyer’s purchasing behaviors over time. Burgers also have the upper hand when it comes to menu importance or the percentage of all restaurant orders that include one. Burgers are included in 14.1 percent of all restaurant orders and chicken sandwiches are included in 6.5 percent of orders.

Although chicken sandwiches are #2 in the sandwich pecking order, they are gaining ground. Chicken sandwich servings ordered in the year ending February 2019 were up 4 percent from same period year ago at 4 billion servings. Burger orders, on the other hand, were flat from year ago at 8.6 billion ordered. 

“Both burgers and chicken sandwiches are winners for foodservice and restaurant operators,” said David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Both are popular with consumers and both can be dressed up with different flavors and fixings to meet a variety of different tastes.”   

About NPD’s Food Sector
NPD is the only research company to continuously track and have a full view of what individuals actually eat and drink in- and away-from-home. We are the definitive source of information and insights for all aspects of food and beverage consumption and consumer use of restaurants and foodservice outlets. We can track the same foodservice consumer over time to gain actionable insights. In addition, we track actual sales information on every product shipped from leading broadline distributors to each of their foodservice operators. Follow us on Twitter: @npdfood