Building the ‘Perfect Premium Burger’

Premium burgers are big business. A steadfast trend for several years, their presence on menus at fast-casual restaurants as well as in retailers is exciting because of their familiarity, yet versatility. But what makes a premium burger premium goes far beyond fancy ingredients and a higher price tag.

It’s about an indulgent experience of the burger patty itself. The home-stylized stars are juicy and flavorful with each bite. And they’re designed to appear customized as though they’re only available at certain establishments.

“The sit-down, fast-casual restaurants like Five Guys or Smashburger are probably the peak of mass-produced premium burgers,” says John Urbanczyk, Product Specialist – Forming Equipment at Provisur Technologies. “Then the retail segment focuses on more burgers in the grocery store that you’ll see in gas-controlled packages with two or four burgers inside.”

While premium burger consumption appears to be profitable, experts believe the business of premium burgers could be even more lucrative if certain steps were taken during mass processing. The key, Urbanczyk explains, is consistency with “portion control and weight control, which is of great importance to an industrial processor. Processors are all looking for yield. Meat is money and a lot of it is being wasted during production.”

Building the ‘Perfect Premium Burger’

A premium burger starts with the quality of the beef, of course, ranging from whether it’s grass-fed or organic, ground chuck, brisket or wagyu, and where it originates geographically. To achieve that perfect patty shape, three important steps occur next: the product is mixed, ground, then finally formed into that ideal patty – one that looks, feels, and tastes like homemade.

While that may appear like three simple steps, Urbanczyk says the process can easily go wrong when there is no consistency in the method. “If you’ve got the wrong meat or if you’re mixing and grinding it incorrectly, you’re not going to form it properly, and it’s not going to cook right. Or, if you’ve got great meat, and you’re not forming it correctly, it’s not going to cook properly.

“And by cooking properly, it could be that you want a round burger and it’s not going to be round. It’s going to be oblong. It’s going to be oddly shaped. It’s going to be dense. So, all that technology in terms of the relationship between mixing, grinding and forming is critical.”

With consistency also being critical to the entire operation, Urbanczyk says, Provisur has the tools to produce perfect premium burger patties. The company is well known for its production of QSR burger patties, and has been involved since the beginning of the steadily growing premium burger business.

“The HomeStyle Patty look was created in 2007 because there was a need for it in the market,” explains Urbanczyk. “For a long time, some of our customers have requested something that doesn’t look like an industrial burger, yet it’s got the portion control of an industrial burger.”

The Dynamic Duo: Tender-Form Fill System and HomeStyle Patty System

What sets Provisur apart from its competitors in the premium burger sector are its secret weapons, the Tender-Form Fill System and HomeStyle Patty System, which focus on consistent weight control. That, in the end, saves processors money.

The Tender-Form Fill System works with the HomeStyle Patty System to add aligned columns in the meat. The two systems complement one another. The HomeStyle Patty System manipulates the meat to appear as though it was made by hand. You can tell by the patty’s uneven edges, yet it is 100 percent machine produced.

“If you’ve got meat fibers that are going vertically, you have to bite through them,” explains Urbanczyk. “This way, as you bite into it, the hamburger pulls apart. That’s when it feels like a premium burger, when it’s got a great mouth feel.

“That’s all done with technology that allows perfect portion control. If you truly want a natural-looking, homestyle burger, it’s a combination of mixing, grinding, the Tender-Form Fill System and HomeStyle Patty System.”

Ingenuity Center, Applications Department and More

Those looking to create a signature premium burger patty should first consult with Provisur’s experts at their Ingenuity Center. It was built for the sole purpose of helping customers develop and test their products. Here, a team of food scientists works with customers to find perfect formulations and test products before they go into production. All of Provisur’s equipment is available, so all possibilities may be explored.

This is also where high-volume producers may determine which system is best for their needs. From throughput to volume to versatility, the challenges for each customer are different. The company offers a range of forming, mixing and grinding equipment. The production capacities range from 6 to 40 inches (150 mm – 1000 mm).

With the various technologies available with Provisur, the Applications Team can further customize premium burgers. That includes machines that perfect inclusions, such as cheese and vegetables, in burgers.

“If you can control the grinding, preparation and the forming, if you control all elements of that process, your ability to make an infinite number of product formulations is guaranteed,” says Urbanczyk. “It’s like having a big toolbox with a bunch of options that you can bring out depending on what you want to achieve.”

Since the 1970s, Provisur Technologies has positioned itself as the undisputed forming expert – and that’s not limited to QSR-type products. With the Tender-Form Fill System and HomeStyle Patty System, plus mixing/grinding technology, Provisur is taking on the premium burger market like no other.

Looking for more information, or a demo, of the Formax line of products? Contact us at 708-479-3500 or