Bruegger’s Bagels is beefing up its lunch offerings with America’s favorite meal: the hamburger.

The fast-casual chain first introduced two hamburgers in its Boston restaurants five weeks ago. The Bistro Burger is topped with Cheddar cheese, secret sauce, lettuce, tomato and pickled onions and served on a bagel of the guest’s choice for $5.99. The $6.99 Barnyard Burger is topped with a fried egg, Cheddar cheese and secret sauce and served on an Asiago Parmesan bagel.

Bruegger’s introduced those items to Minneapolis last week, and plans to have them at all company-owned restaurants by September and systemwide by early 2015, by which time all the franchise will have installed the Merrychef equipment necessary to heat the sandwiches.

Corporate restaurants and many franchisees bought the equipment when the chain introduced freshly cracked eggs earlier this year, according to Judy Kadylak, Bruegger’s vice president of marketing.

Kadylak said the idea for the hamburgers came from the chain’s restaurants in France.
“We actually have been developing burgers in France over the last year,” she said, adding that the quintessential American sandwich underscored the brand’s heritage.

“The bagel burger became one of the No. 1 selling items almost right away,” she said, adding that the bagel’s chewy texture and ability to absorb the burger’s juices makes it a great bread to use for burgers.

She said the Bistro Burger immediately became one of the top sellers in Boston restaurants, whereas in Minneapolis the Barnyard Burger is a popular breakfast item.
Kadylak said she was glad that the burger defied customers’ expectations about what Bruegger’s should be selling.

“I think what made me so excited was that people said, ‘What? A burger at Bruegger’s? That doesn’t make sense’,” she said, noting that to get the attention of Millennials the chain needed to do something “disruptive.”

“This item we felt would draw a new consumer to us as well as being something different for our existing guest base,” she said.

Contact Bret Thorn: bret.thorn@penton.com
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