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Emmanuel Brousse
News | 1er mars
Le camion qui fume : Food Truck pioneer in Paris © DR
Will the burger, the culinary symbol of the United States, also become that of Paris? The big number of burger restaurants could lead to this conclusion. The burger comes with all kinds of sauces and on any price levels, and it is worshipped by the French and by restaurants: Last year more than 1,07 billion burgers have been eaten in France. Popular addresses such as Big Fernand, Le Camion Qui Fume or Cantine California frequently faced impressing queues.
Encouraged by their success, the brands multiply their initiatives to gain ground and to leave behind their competitors. The famous food truck Le Camion Qui Fume which is specialised in burgers becomes sedentary and sets up a restaurant next door to the Grand Rex. The place has been crowded since its opening on last Friday and customers have had to wait for at least 30 minutes before enjoying their sandwiches.
Their rivals on the field of fancy burgers are Big Fernand and Mamie Burger. The two companies count on delivery to flood the capital with French Fries. Both of them are partners with Deliveroo and hope to reduce the run on their shops while at the same promoting their brands. Mamie Burger has also doubled its efforts by opening new restaurants in 2014 and 2015.
Hamburgers in Paris : Pedzouille, Big Fernand, Le Camion Qui Fume ou Cantine California, Mamie Burger, Comptoir de l'Epicerie du Père Claude, BAB Bar à Burger, Artisan du Burger, Five Guys © Pluris

From the right address to the true franchise

The trendy addresses slowly turn into genuine franchises of the French burger. Those who have the best results are those who manage to reconcile burgers of good quality with an efficient brand image. Just like the fast food chains, the Parisian burger specialists place their cuisine skills in a well constructed universe of vocabulary and images.
At Big Fernand, checked shirts reminding of picnic table cloth are mandatory for the staff and the word burger is replaced by ‘hamburgees’. The French-style ambiance contributes just as much to the success of the brand as the quality of its products.
Others bet on culinary originality to stand out. The very chic Artisan du Burger sells bread that has been exclusively darkened with squid’s ink whereas Comptoir de l'Epicerie du Père Claude relies on wagyu beef, a Japanese beef variety which is rich in fat and particularly tender. At BAB (for Bar à Burgers) the customer service is meant to make the difference. Burgers are served under a glass bell cover. Nothing more than that.
Hamburgers in Paris : Pedzouille, Big Fernand, Le Camion Qui Fume ou Cantine California, Mamie Burger, Comptoir de l'Epicerie du Père Claude, BAB Bar à Burger, Artisan du Burger, Five Guys © Pluris
Does the high concentration of burger specialists lead to a saturation of the market? No: New restaurants don’t stop from disappearing. In order to achieve the leap into the big bath of burgers, imagination is required. The ‘farmer’s’ barbecue restaurant Pedzouille has heated things up by launching a crowdfunding campaign on KissKissBankBank several months before its opening.
There is no doubt that the arrival of the American chain Five Guys, known for its high-end burgers, in Paris in the middle of the year will also be accompanied by some special effects. The brand is a real benchmark in the US. It is known for having initiated the trend for gourmet burgers and Barak Obama himself has referred to them as the best burgers in the world. Not sure if this is enough to challenge the kings of the “burger à la française”.
Crédits photo : Pluris, DR
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