Le burger is becoming le king of le France. Oui, oui.
Okay, enough with the lame French jokes. According to a new study from Gira Conseil, American-style hamburgers—which are actually, in truth, called “le burger” in France—are fast outpacing typical French staples. So much so that three-quarters of restaurants in France sell them, and 80% of those restaurants say it’s their best-selling menu item.
“Burger mania (in France) is unstoppable,” Bernard Boutboul, head of Gira Conseil, said. “If it goes on like this, then one can assume that within two years, sales of the jambon-beurre and burger will be neck and neck.”
Which is big news, considering that the jambon-beurre is one of France’s lunchtime staples. Last year, sales of the ham-and-butter baguette sandwich dropped to 1.23 billion, while sales of burgers rose 11% to 1.19 billion.
Surprisingly, the burger’s rise in popularity isn’t due to the Royale with cheese. In fact, only 1/3 of the hamburgers sold last year came from fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King. Which means that higher-end restaurants are getting in on the trend big time.
In fact, a high-end restaurant was the beginning of the French burger craze. “It all started in 2010 when the Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno launched his burger à la carte in the Le Maurice (a Parisian five-star hotel) and won the title ‘best burger in the world’,” Boutboul explained. “That was the beginning of interest in this sandwich, which was until then a little derided.”
Six years later, the tables have definitely turned. Five Guys is even set to make its entry into the country at Paris’ Gare du Nord train station in just a few weeks.
No matter its trajectory, though, France still isn’t outselling America in burgers. According to the NPD Groupe, “If in France we have reached 14 burgers consumed per person per year, the UK is on 20, the U.S. on 30 and Australia on 38.” Maybe it’s those Aussies we need to be worrying about — we’ve already seen the lengths they’ll go just to get an In-n-Out burger.