Thursday, November 5, 2015

Brace yourself, the burger tsunami is unrelenting

I've made my view known -- not a terribly positive one -- about the tsunami of burger chain locations afflicting the area like toadstools after a warm rain. However, the apparent success of most of them seems to support an opposing view.

The chain-burger category that has been quickly broadening in the Capital region in the past few years is going to get a few more bulges.

In addition to Upstate's first Elevation Burger venue, now being developed in the Fresh Market Commons shopping complex on Route 9 in Latham, the Smashburger chain is working on its third local venue, at 2309 Nott Street in Niskayuna. Its first in the area opened in the summer of 2014 on Wolf Road in Colonie, and a second opened last winter at 46 Marion Avenue in Saratoga Springs.

But, that is not the end of the category growth we're witnessing.
• Dairy Queen is working on one of its new DQ Grill and Chill concepts at 1652 Central Avenue, opposite the Colonie Community Center. 
• Sonic Drive-In, which just opened in Latham, is developing a Troy location. 
• Burger Fi is scheduled to add locations in Saratoga Springs and near the Western Avenue entrance to the University at Albany in 2016.  
• The Checkers/Rally's chain has confirmed it is looking for potential franchise owners for the Schenectady and Albany area.
• Hardee's is believed to be considering the Capital Region. When it returned to New York State for the first time in two decades by opening a Kingston location in April, the chain announced it would open 200 more locations in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in the next five ears. 
How long will the burger bubble last in the Capital Region? There's no telling, but here's a list of burger-centric chains operating, or about to, here that would have been unthinkable a decade ago:

Burger King
Burger Fi
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers
Juicy Burgers & More
Johnny Rockets
Burger 21
Elevation Burger
Sonic Drive-In
Shake Shack (seasonal at Saratoga Race Course)
DQ Grill and Chill

Can In-N-Out Burger, Fatburger, Carl's Jr., Umami Burger, Whataburger, and a few other West Coast and Sunbelt favorites be far off?

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