Seems like every restaurant brand is trying to extend their reach by putting labeled products in the grocery aisles; if my memory is correct, seems like Taco Bell was first. Now there is hardly a fast casual brand that you don’t see in the grocery, whether it’s Boston Market, Fridays, Marie Callenders, Fatburger, Burger King, Nathan’s.
I’ve reviewed a pretty good sampling of heat and eat burgers in the past, including Fred Meyer Frozen Mini Cheeseburgers, Private Selection Angus Beef Patties, and Trader Joes Kobe Style, White Castle, to the convenience store types like Big A Angus Charbroil, the 7-Eleven Cheeseburger, Fatburger, Walgreens, AM/PM Mini Marts, and Ball Park, to mention a few.
Now I see Steak N Shake has entered the fray. The Illinois founded company now has more than 400 outlets across the country, and I have generally been pretty pleased with their products. They have a rep for fresh, cooked to order food.
So I wish they wouldn’t have entered this market segment. I think it does more harm than good, as a frozen heat and eat burger can’t come close to the taste or texture of a burger prepared in the restaurant.
Steak N Shake chose Ohio-based AdvancedPierre as their contract manufacturer / distributor. The company makes a lot of heat and eat foods for the convenience and vending market, including the “Big A” referenced above.
While this type of product is available throughout the entire price range, from a buck each up to $10 + for a bag of six or eight patties, the Steak N Shake variety was offered at $5 for (2) 5.3 ounce sandwiches. The sandwich is comprised of two patties, one slice of cheese and bun. No condiments are included, of course.
(Need some Steak N Shake chili or their great seasoning? We can hook you up!)
Instructions call for puncturing the wrapper (picture 1 below), heating for 75 seconds in the microwave, and letting sit for thirty seconds after that. Of course it has the disclaimer that “microwaves and heating times may vary” and they were referring to mine, as at 75 seconds the middle of the patties was still frozen.
Removed from the microwave (picture 2 below), they look fairly appealing.
One “beef” I have with all of these products that include buns, is that frequently the bun and meat require different heating times, so you’re going to probably be disappointed with one or the other. My “cheat” is to disassemble them and heat them separately, works for me, but takes a little trial and error. That process especially works great with frozen White Castles.
What’s my verdict? They’re OK. As I feared, nothing resembling the restaurant product, but most of these heat and eat burgers are pretty similar in my experience, and opinion, no matter the brand or the price point.
I suppose the “hook” is convenience. Single people who don’t want to cook, a harried mom needing a quick snack for the kids. Burger snobs won’t give them a thought.
Moms might want to reconsider, now that I just read the nutrition info – 490 calories with over half of those from fat. Probably not good.
Update: I walked by a Steak N Shake restaurant inside a Mississippi casino recently, and noted the signage now says ” “Steak ‘n Shake by Biglari.” Sadar Biglari is head of the private equity fund that currently controls Steak N Shake. At first, I thought, “well that’s arrogant, it’s not like using Dior or something – Biglari hasn’t designed custom gourmet burgers or anything.” And then I read it’s a licensing deal. By putting his name on the restaurants, the “owner” has to pay him a licensing fee for use of his name. Even if the chain is sold. That’s pretty slimy, even for private equity.
Steak N Shake Frozen Burgers Review