Le Burger Week sizzles with new brand partnerships

Annual event is partnering with Budweiser, Ace Bakery and Just Eat

Cholesterol rates may be on the upswing among burger lovers over the coming days as restaurants across Canada will be vying for the title of best burger in their respective cities.

The fifth edition of Le Burger Week runs from Sept. 1 to 7 with a few hundred participating restaurants in six Canadian cities offering unique and specially priced burgers that sport names like Le Pig Mac, created for the food festival. Burger aficionados can also vote online for their favourite burgers.

Budweiser, Ace Bakery and delivery service Just Eat are sponsors of this year’s festival.

Le Burger Week was created in Montreal in 2012 by marketer Na’eem Adam and lawyer Thierry Rassam. The two started it after having a vigorous debate at a restaurant about who had the best burger in Montreal.

“It just snowballed from there,” Adam says. “Being fanatics and passionate about it, we tried to find the most authentic way to find out which place had the best burger in Montreal by getting as many people involved as possible to solve our dilemma.”

The festival’s first year started with 30 restaurants in Montreal and 10,000 participants “and we decided to grow the concept.”

This year’s edition of Le Burger Week is taking place in Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver as well as Port au Prince, Haiti, with more than 225 restaurants and more than 100,000 expected participants.

This year, the festival has partnered with Budweiser to present an extension of the brewer’s existing Bud and Burgers campaign. Some 25 participating restaurants will offer Bud and burger combos priced much less than what they would be priced individually, Adam says. There will also be a special media spend for restaurants that are participating in the Budweiser promo.

In addition, about 25 restaurants will be using Ace Bakery buns on their specially-created burgers during the week.

As well, on Bring Le Burger Week Home Day on Sept. 4, Just Eat will be offering various Le Burger Week participating burgers for delivery at 20% off.

Burger eaters use a five star system to vote online for the Burger of the Year. Winners will also be named in the Judge’s Choice, Creative Award, Tallest Burger and Healthiest Burger categories. About 25,000 people voted last year.

Aside from boasting rights, the restaurant that wins best burger in each city gets a plaque and media attention.

Adam says the festival provides lesser known restaurants with the opportunity to build public awareness by encouraging people to experience new places and visit different parts of the city. “Our mission is to stimulate businesses in cities based on a fun and adventurous idea and to find the truly best burgers in each city with the help of burger aficionados.”

Restaurants, except for those in Port au Prince, pay a fee to participate in Le Burger Week and obtain a marketing package in return that includes website attention, print materials, media spend and photographs of their burger creations.

The festival also works with influencers and bloggers to get the word out and has used local PR firms, such as Ashley Rosenberger of Rose PR in Montreal for media relations.

In Port au Prince, “we were looking for ways to give back to the community,” Adam says, and “it’s actually been working” with restaurants in the Haitian city getting more visibility and sales. The festival has now been running for three years in Port au Prince with 30 restaurants participating.

Adam and Rassam also organize La Poutine Week in February.

Aside from co-founding the burger and poutine weeks, Adams owns the four-employee Montreal marketing agency Parvin Marketing that creates activations using influencers. He’s recently done events for Converse involving Quebec vedette Mitsou and Converse and for Frank + Oak with Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk .

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