The history of the world-famous hamburger is certainly not transparent. Different stories are told from different areas around the world, all claiming to have formulated the world’s first burger.

In the 1880s, a man named Fletcher Davis is said to be the first to create the hamburger in Athens, Texas. The story describes Davis bringing his invention to the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904, where the invention took off and became an American icon.

In New Haven, Connecticut, Louis Lassen is said to have invented the hamburger in 1900. The Lassen family swears the invention of the hamburger is part of their family heritage. The Library of Congress agrees that Lassen invented the burger when he put scraps of ground between slices of bread for fast and easy eating.

The town of Seymour, Wisconsin, also claims to be the original home of the hamburger; their story seeming just as reasonable as the others.

In addition to these various invention theories, another issue is that large – scale spread of the burger occurred due to small vendors quickly coming and going at the World’s Fair. It is very possible that many different people developed the idea at overlapping times in different locations.

Although many claim to be the creator of the hamburger, there is little historical documentation, causing its creation destined to remain a historic debate.

Industry Demand

Despite not knowing who invented the hamburger, its popularity is high, and its sales are growing faster than the US economy. Revenues were an impressive $200 billion in 2015 – a considerable amount of growth since the 1970 revenue of $6 billion. The industry is expected to continue this forward motion, having an annual growth of over 2% for the next several years.

For the first time in five quarters, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s recorded same-store sales increases of greater than 3 percent. The US GDP hasn’t produced an annual increase of 3 percent or greater in the last 10 years.

Globally, fast food generates revenue of over $570 billion – an amount greater than the economic value of most countries. There are over 200,000 fast food restaurants in the United States and nearly 50 million Americans are estimated to eat at one of them every single day. The market continues to be dominated by hamburger – based restaurants, accounting for over 30% of industry sales. These statistics provide great promise for the industry, now and in the future.


The Healthy Trend

Increased demand for organic and grass-fed beef, especially by millennials, has created a premium segment where restaurants are reaching out to those willing to pay more for better-tasting, healthier burgers. One expert reported that revenues for this “better burger” market could double to $10 billion by 2021, outpacing growth in regular burgers. Current sales at companies offering gourmet burgers, which typically use fresh meat and often include exotic ingredients, jumped 15% over 2014 to $5 billion. Even McDonald’s is considering fresh beef instead of frozen paddies for its burgers, testing its success in 14 of their Dallas restaurants.

This market segment offers ample room for growth. The most prominent gourmet burger stores such as Five Guys and Smashburger total fewer than 2,500 globally, compared with more than 50,000 outlets collectively operated by McDonald’s and Burger King.


The opportunities are available and thriving, the only obstacle to your burger success is yourself!