Hot Dogs, Burgers and Ice Cream Make the Perfect Summertime Eats: CHD Expert Evaluates the Summer Dining Landscape of the United States

When the summer season rolls around many Americans reach for a few staple foods to help with fun in the sun – hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream.

Chicago, IL, July 29, 2016 --( This July 4th, at Nathan’s Famous 100th Anniversary Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set a world record eating 70 hotdogs in 10 minutes. And while that’s more hotdogs than many Americans would eat in a year, there is no doubt that America loves hotdogs in the summer.

CHD Expert, the Chicago-based foodservice database and analytics firm, has released the latest data around the landscape of restaurants that cater to the tastes of the summer season: hot dogs, as well as hamburgers and ice cream.

From modern innovations to acceptance of foreign traditional cuisines, American diners are being exposed to all sorts of different delicious food. But sometimes, especially during summer time, Americans prefer something tried and true.

In 2013, online food ordering service Seamless reported that, according to their internal customer data, hamburgers had dethroned hot dogs as America’s favorite summer food. According to data from CHD Expert, as of June 2016, there were just over 1,600 hot dog restaurants in the United States.

When it comes to hamburger restaurants, the landscape is broader, and bigger. As of June 2016, there are over 49,000 hamburger restaurants in the United States. With hamburgers gaining increased ground in the American culinary landscape over the past decade, both large chains and independents have made strides in innovating this summertime staple.

According to CHD Experts data, Hamburger is the fourth most prevalent menu type in the USA, making up 7.2 percent of the restaurant landscape, after Pizzeria and before Sandwich. The Hot Dog menu type represents the 34th most prevalent, representing about 0.25 percent of the landscape. Ice cream/ Dairy menu type is 11th on the list, representing 3 percent of the market.

Chains currently dominate the hamburger menu type in the US, accounting for 96 percent of the total hamburger restaurant landscape. However, Independent hamburger restaurants often challenge their larger chain competitors by offering high-end ingredients, specialized toppings, and an overall gourmet experience.

The average check at 75 percent of hamburger restaurants in the US is $5 - $7, whereas more gourmet burgers at restaurants such as Grub Burger Bar in Atlanta or The Bowery in Los Angeles might include an average check of $15 - $20 (1%) or $20 - $30 (.08%).

Hamburger restaurants are some of the nation’s most rapidly growing chains. Shake Shack, for example, has gone from just a few Manhattan locations, to now having 50 restaurants across the USA, in addition to locations in the Middle East, Japan, Russia and the UK. In recent years remarkable growth has also been achieved by Smashburger, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Stakeburgers, The Habit, and Five Guys.

After indulging in a delicious burger, there are more after-dinner dessert options than there are flavors at Baskin-Robbins. As summer 2016 sizzles on, it’s likely that many Americans will reach for a frozen treat at some point in the season, particularly because it is an affordable choice, with the average check at 51 percent of these establishments being $5 - $7.

According to CHD Expert’s data, there are more than 19,500 Ice Cream/Dairy operators in the United States, all of which are classified as Limited Service Restaurants. Of these, 68 percent have been in business for 5+ years while 25 percent have been open 2 – 5 years.

Chains make up a substantial portion of the Frozen Desserts restaurant landscape, at 67 percent. Top chains for this menu type, based on number of units, include Dairy Queen (34%), Baskin-Robbins (17%), Cold Stone Creamery (7%), Rita’s Ice (5%), and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt (3%).

Whether a restaurant is grilling up burgers or scooping ice cream, the trend is toward delivering a unique and “better” customer experience through high-quality and, in some cases, specialty ingredients. Foodservice providers that sell products and services that can assist these restaurants in gaining an edge on the competition shouldn’t ignore this uniquely American opportunity.

“Burgers, hot dogs and desserts are closely tied to the culinary heritage of the United States. They are also a multi-billion dollar business,” said Catherine Kearns, General Manager at CHD Expert The Americas. “Going out for a burger or an ice cream can be both a nostalgic or a novel experience, and these timeless joys help keep American families grounded amidst all of the drama that consumes our daily lives. Taking the family for an ice cream on a warm summer night is an American right of passage, and we are glad to report this tradition is still strong.”

To obtain detailed information on the foodservice industry landscape in the United States, or foodservice data in general, please contact Brad Bloom:

About CHD North America

For 20 years, CHD Expert has been the global leader in collecting, managing, and analyzing data for the Away-From-Home Foodservice Market. For additional information, please visit or call 1-888-243-0154.
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Brandon Gerson
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