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Special Relationship: the burger and Britain

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Meeting the demands of our taste buds for juicy burgers, hot dogs and sprinkled doughnuts is the scores of American style eateries that are popping up across the UK. But where has this desire for US cuisine come from?

In a recent piece for the Guardian, food writer Katy Slater explored this very issue, she said:

“American food has a fun, colourful allure that British food doesn’t – in it we see the neon of New York, the glamour of 50s Americana, and the glitter of Hollywood. Bite into a cheeseburger or stick a straw into a root beer float and for a brief second you could be at a Californian drive-in rather than drizzly suburban Britain.”

Paul Buckley, marketing and consumer psychologist at Cardiff Metropolitan University, gave his thoughts:

“American foods have been easily assimilated into our culture because they’re fairly bland and typically full of fat and sugar which makes them taste good.”

Aside from tasting good, another reason for the increase in American style restaurants in our cities can be attributed to the economy, as TV chef Jeremy Lee explains:

“Burger restaurants are a savvy way for young restaurateurs to cut their teeth. You can use good ingredients very cheaply. Opening a restaurant is a frightening prospect, more so now than ever – to get something past the bank manager you need a sure-fire hit.”

Premier Hospitality has featured several burger bars since its first issue and Will Beckett, owner of the up-market Hawksmoor featured in last issue, recently said: “Restaurants with mass appeal are probably safer in a bad economy – and everyone enjoys hot dogs, burgers and sundaes, right?”

While the reasons are not completely clear, whether recession, an allure to 1950’s design or simply a meaty infatuation, one thing remains sure – Brits love a good burger.

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