Traditional burgers continue to be one of the most popular food items at full-service restaurants. However, it can be quite difficult to achieve the perfect burger every time.
The emergence of IQF burger patties has been one solution to this problem. The use of frozen patties has also alleviated many of the challenges that come with using fresh patties. For example, it’s hard to keep meat fresh, especially when trying to store it for long periods of time. Fresh meat is also more difficult to prepare, with quality depending heavily on the chef’s abilities.
Using IQF patties, chefs are able to easily and consistently make high-value burgers. Frozen patties are also more convenient, especially when it comes to labor and time.
There are several misconceptions regarding the quality of frozen burgers. “If some consumers have been disappointed in a frozen patty, it’s probably because they have made patties at home and frozen them in their home freezers,” says Chef Janet Bourbon, strategic accounts chef for Cargill Protein.
“The freezing process at home is slow and affects the burger’s texture,” Bourbon says. “TNT patties are flash frozen with no impact on your burger’s flavor or texture.” This allows the burger patties to taste just as flavorful as fresh patties.
Not only are there misconceptions shared by consumers, but also several that impact the opinions of chefs and restaurants. “There may be a feeling for some chefs that frozen patties are not as good as fresh,” Chef Bourbon says.
“There are a lot of misconceptions in the industry about fresh vs frozen,” Bourbon says. “It probably stems from bad experiences with frozen burgers that were mishandled in some way.”
However, with the emergence of IQF burger patties, chefs are able to produce a higher-quality burger. “When chefs try an IQF patty that has been stored properly and cooked perfectly, they would be surprised and really happy with the result,” Chef Bourbon says. “Frozen patties are tasty, juicy, and delicious—just like fresh patties,” making the transition seamless.
“According to numerous marketing studies, it’s all about the meat,” Bourbon says. Moreover, a survey of 700 consumers was conducted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and found that 80 percent thought the most important aspect of a burger is its taste. Additionally, the overall quality and value you get for the price you pay is important.
Therefore, ensuring the value and quality of patties for a cheap price by using flash-frozen meat products is of the utmost importance.
The bottom line is that what consumers want most is some variation on a classic cheeseburger. “Of course, you want a great bun, delicious condiments, and fresh produce,” Bourbon says. “But the number one thing with consumers is the quality and value of the beef.” This is something that is easily achieved when cooking with TNT’s flash-frozen patties.
Consistency within the foodservice industry is extremely important, especially with the rise of unique creations. “I think chefs, who are by their nature very creative, can get a little too crazy with LTOs and push the envelope too far,” Bourbon says. “The challenge is to walk that fine line between trendy and accessible.”
Having one consistent ingredient will also ensure quality and customer satisfaction. “When you’re playing around with different sauces, carriers, and garnishes, you need at least one constant, and that’s a frozen patty,” Bourbon says.
Frozen patties allow for consistent flavor and convenience. “Frozen patties are great for inventory control and managing waste,” Chef Bourbon says. “They help with labor costs as well. No one has the time or the staff to make patties in this labor market.”
Therefore, the addition of IQF patties has allowed restaurants to continue production while possibly struggling with low staffing. It also conveniences chefs in terms of consistency across their menu. “I’ve found that the closer chefs stay to some variation of a cheeseburger, the more successful you’ll be,” Chef Bourbon says.
For information on TNT burgers, visit their website.
By Abby Winterburn