Breaking down a ‘why’ of $15 burger/fries meals

  • A bacon-cheeseburger during Pearl Street Pub Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018 in Albany, NY.  (John Carl D'Annibale/Times Union) Photo: John Carl D'Annibale / 20043067A



And so we are here: A bacon-cheeseburger with fries costs $15.

Can this unequivocally be, if not universal, nonetheless widespread adequate to call it a milestone?

I perused menus for a garland of places in downtown Albany, where we live. Consider:

Dawn’s Victory Sports Cafe: $11 with bacon and cheese, $13 with fries.

McGeary’s Pub: $11.99 with cheese, bacon and potato chips, $14.28 with fries.

DP: An American Brasserie: $15 with cheese and fries, $17 with bacon.

The Olde English Pub: $13 with cheese and fries, $15 with bacon.

The Merry Monk: $15 with bacon, cheese and fries.

Angelo’s 677 Prime: $17 with cheese and fries, $19 with bacon.

Wellington’s during a Renaissance: $15 with cheese and fries, $19 with pig swell (aka uncured bacon).

The City Beer Hall: $15 with cheese and fries, $18 with bacon.

Even table-service inhabitant bondage are removing some-more than $10 for bacon-cheeseburgers with fries: $11.29 during Red Robin, $11.99 during TGI Friday’s.

How can this be true, when McDonald’s is offered a Bacon McDouble for dual bucks, a elementary cheeseburger for half that?

To give business a improved thought of how a same image can change widely in cost depending on where it’s served, we asked restaurants in 5 places — Albany, Chatham, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady and Troy — to mangle down their costs to offer burgers with menu prices from $9.95 to $17, holding into comment all on a plate, from beef to bun, lettuce to pickles to ketchup.

As a ubiquitous guide, a business indication for restaurants calls for pricing dishes during 3 times what a mixture cost — a 33 percent food cost, averaged over a whole menu. A peculiarity beef might run a 45 percent food cost, equivalent by a pasta image in a mid-20s. Or, in other words, if all on a burger image costs we $5 total, we should assign $15. The other two-thirds covers a losses of using a restaurant, from staff salaries to lease or mortgage, insurance, apparatus maintenance, cleaning, copy menus and more.

Bacon-cheeseburgers in this relapse start during $9.95 during Bootleggers on Broadway in Troy and Manhattan Exchange in Schenectady; Albany’s Pearl Street Pub, during $14, is in a middle; and 15 Church in Saratoga and The People’s Pub in Chatham both assign $17.

The sum next irradiate because prices have such variability nonetheless a restaurants’ particular food costs are within 7 commission points of a 33 percent target. While 15 Church’s bacon-cheeseburger costs 70 percent some-more than Bootleggers’, both with 8 ounces of belligerent beef, 15 Church uses beef that costs twice as many per pound; a cheese is some-more than 5 times pricier; and 15 Church adds a housemade devalue butter that incorporates Irish butter, foie gras, beef bone marrow, steep fat-roasted garlic, Maldon chair salt and other oppulance ingredients. As a result, a many costly image here has a food cost that is 10.5 commission points aloft than what it costs to make a cheapest bacon-cheeseburger. (Similarly, a People’s Pub’s $17 burger has a 35 percent food cost.) If 15 Church followed a customary formula, a burger would be about $19, while Bootleggers could reduce a to $8.

See next for a full comparison of a 5 burgers. All costs were supposing by a restaurants. While what any pays for mixture was not exclusively reliable with a purveyors, a prices cited are generally within ranges charged by indiscriminate suppliers, according to Times Union research.


Burgers by a numbers

15 Church

15 Church St.

Saratoga Springs

Menu description: “Church Burger: Boursin cheese, bone-marrow butter, caramelized onions, bacon bits.” Served with fries.

Menu price: $17

Ingredient cost: $6.21

Food cost percentage (ingredient cost divided by menu price; industry-wide aim is 33 percent): 36.5


8 ounces chopped Angus shortrib/brisket: $2.46

4-inch, 21/2-ounce brioche bun: $0.66

Bone marrow-foie gras butter (includes Irish butter, foie gras, beef bone marrow, steep fat-roasted garlic, Maldon chair salt, rendered and churned beef fat): $0.65

1 unit Boursin cheese: $0.78

1 unit bacon crumble: $0.23

1 unit caramelized cipollini: $0.27

2 ounces housemade sharp Russian dressing: $0.20

1 unit housemade bread-and-butter pickles: $0.15

2 ounces ketchup: $0.10

12 ounces fresh-cut fries from New York-grown Kennebec potatoes: $0.71

Bootleggers on Broadway

200 Broadway


Menu description: “Jack Daniel’s Burger: Topped with homemade Jack glaze, bacon and provolone.” Served with fries.

Menu price: $9.95

Food cost: $2.63

Food cost percentage: 26


8 unit Angus belligerent beef: $1.27

1 unit provolone: $0.14

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon: $0.20

2 ounces housemade Jack Daniel’s sauce: $0.20

Brioche roll: $0.42

Fries: $0.25

Lettuce, tomato, onion: $0.15

Manhattan Exchange

607 Union St.


Menu description: “5th Avenue Burger: onions, peppers, mushrooms, bacon and cheese.” Served with fries.

Menu price: $9.95

Ingredient cost: $2.97

Food cost percentage: 30


8 ounces Cattlemen name belligerent beef: $1.40

2 slices Leidy’s hardwood-smoked bacon: $0.33

Mount Pleasant Bakery roll: $0.33

2 slices American cheese: $0.25

6 ounces coated fries: $0.36

Sauteed onions, mushrooms, peppers: $0.20

Pickle spear: $0.10

Pearl Street Pub

59-61 N. Pearl St.


Menu description: “Black and Blue Burger: Cajun seasoned, surfaced with bleu cheese crumbles and crispy bacon. Comes with lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun. Served with Idaho fries, waffle fries, honeyed potato fries or side salad and a pickle.”

Menu price: $14

Ingredient cost: $4.09

Food cost percentage: 29


8 ounces hand-packed, all-natural internal Kilcoyne beef: $2.25

2 ounces blue-cheese crumble: $0.34

1 frame apple-cider bacon: $0.45

Lettuce: $0.04

Tomato: $0.10

Fries: $0.37

Pickle: $0.07

Local potato roll: $0.47

The People’s Pub

36 Main St.


Menu description: “The Burger Royale: Kinderhook Farms beef, aged cheddar, candied bacon, buttermilk onion ring, garlic aioli, residence ketchup, residence pickles, lettuce, tomato. Confit fries.”

Price: $17

Total food cost: $5.89

Food cost percentage: 35


7 ounces internal belligerent beef: $2.84

Burger seasoning (tamari soy, salt, pepper): $.05

2 ounces housemade ketchup: $0.10

2 ounces housemade aioli: $0.39

11/2 ounces Vermont cheddar: $0.21

1 unit Arcadia mix churned greens: $0.15

Tomato slices: $0.12

Aloha brioche bun: $0.55

2 tempura-battered onion rings: $0.12

2.5 ounces Berkshire internal smoked chunk candied bacon: $1.15

Housemade pickles: $0.05

Housemade fries: $0.16


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