The Secret World Of Burgers

The secret life of burgers

A mainstay of American palates, the humble hamburger took a little longer to reach Britain. This insightful documentary lifts the curtain on an industry now worth billions in the UK. It’s the story of the battle between Wimpy, McDonald’s and Burger King, told by the industry titans behind some of the biggest brands. But what does the future hold for the great British burger?

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The Secret World Of Burgers on BBC Select

The burger is a food item loved the world over. But the humble burger has also led to plenty of beef. How did a cheap, American fast food become a competitive business worth over $5 billion in Britain? The Secret World of Burgers, narrated by beloved British comedian Jo Brand, tells the story of the rise and rise of the British burger, told by the individuals at the heart of the action. It explains how this American culinary mainstay took time to get established in the UK but soon grew into a massive, money-spinning industry that led to enormous competition between brands. Plus, this eye-opening documentary investigates the innovations that have taken place in the burger world over the years, including the introduction of vegetarian and vegan alternatives to beef. It also investigates what makes the perfect burger.

The story of UK burger business is a particularly British one. It was a chain of traditional tea-rooms who felt that an update was required during the 1950s that first purchased the Wimpy brand from the States and opened the first burger restaurant. Ordinary Brits were seduced by this peculiarly American dish. But as this Wimpy brand grew, competition was on its way. McDonald’s launched Operation Golden Arch and attempted to muscle into the British burger market. It took a while for ordinary Brits to accept the unique McDonald’s offering. No crockery, no table service, no tea! But eventually the notion of counter service was accepted. Soon Burger King also tried to gain a foothold in the UK and a fully-fledged burger war began, with each brand trying to tempt Brits into their eateries.

But as burger culture gripped the UK, these established brands were soon faced with competition of their own. As palates grew more sophisticated and diners demanded better offerings, more gourmet meals and meat-free alternatives, a new breed of burger joint sprang up. These highly innovative restaurants moved away from the fast food culture of their predecessors and tried to make the humble burger a more alluring, exclusive prospect.

But what is the future for the burger? Will environmental concerns play a role? Will economic issues lead to diners heading towards the fast-food outlets more often? And could some new, unseen burger innovation be heading over the horizon? The Secret World of Burgers promises to reveal all in the most delicious way possible.

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