What’s next for the battle of the burger brands?

We look at the creative ways in which fast food brands are appealing to our tastebuds and standing out in a saturated market – from piggybacking off the vegan movement to embracing the allure of nostalgia

It’s been a whirlwind year in the world of burgers. Some brands’ pre-existing issues have only been exacerbated by the pandemic, with Byron closing 31 restaurants across the UK and Gourmet Burger Kitchen shuttering 26 sites, while both Burger King and McDonald’s looked to design and creativity to recapture consumers’ hearts and minds. The McDonald’s packaging overhaul by Pearlfisher took a simple approach to spotlighting its iconic menu items, while Burger King’s nostalgic rebrand made waves in the design community and beyond. And only this month another American fast food titan, Wendy’s, returned to the UK after a two decade hiatus.

In the ultra-competitive landscape of fast food, it’s unsurprising to see developments like these all the time. But to really understand some of the more recent changes, it’s worth looking back at how the UK’s food scene has developed more broadly over the last decade. Back in 2011, as well as being a writer at Creative Review, Gavin Lucas was eating his way around London’s nascent indie burger scene via his aptly named blog, Burgerac.

Top: Burger King’s rebrand by JKR. Above: McDonald’s recent packaging redesign by Pearlfisher