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The average American has 17 different burger options on a 10-minute drive

Melody Hahm
Senior Writer
Shake Shack burger (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Despite Americans obsessing over gluten- and dairy-free diets, burger joints seem to be popping up on every street corner. And it turns out this temptation isn’t just in your head.

For every traditional burger concept, you can find 16 others within a 10 minute drive time, according to a new UBS report: US Restaurants Burger Competition Monitor.

The report analyzed the store footprint and new unit opens across a dataset of 22 traditional and fast casual burger chains, including McDonald’s (MCD), Burger King (QSR), Wendy’s (WEN), Shake Shack (SHAK), In-N-Out Burger, Five Guys, and Dairy Queen (BRK-A, BRK-B), studying trends in store formations and competition.

For comparison, the next most penetrated categories analyzed by UBS were traditional pizza places and large Mexican restaurants, which have just six and four units, respectively, per 10-minute drive.

Big burger chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s not only compete with direct peers but also face challenges from “better burger” concepts. These chains, like Bareburger and celebrity-owned franchises like Bobby Flay’s “Bobby Burger Palace” or Mark Wahlberg’s “Wahlburgers,” have been gaining swift popularity.

McDonald’s facing stiff competition

Competition surrounding McDonald’s is growing faster than the overall burger group, according to the UBS report.

Though McDonald’s fared well in global markets, it’s seeing lackluster results in the US. Last quarter, the fast food giant saw comparable restaurant sales fall 1.3%.

“As smaller, fast casual chains continue to generate outsized burger segment growth, they are exerting more pressure on McD restaurants, and their contribution to competitive intensity continues to grow,” according to the UBS report.

While established chains might fear this competition, there’s a clear winner from the brewing burger bubble: insatiable consumers.

Melody Hahm is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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