14 Most Overpriced Burger Chains in America

Americans love their burgers.  From classic fast-food joints to trendy gourmet chains, there’s a seemingly endless selection to satisfy your cravings. But with so many options, it’s easy to get caught overpaying for a less-than-stellar burger experience.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the burger chains that might be overcharging for their product. We considered factors like ingredient quality, portion size, value for money compared to similar offerings, and overall customer perception to create this list. So, before you head out for your next burger fix, be sure to read on and arm yourself with the knowledge to get the most bang for your buck.

Shake Shack

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Shake Shack is famous for its finger-licking burgers and vibrant atmosphere. However, some might argue the price doesn’t quite match the experience. Their signature double ShackBurger can set you back around $11.49, which isn’t outrageous for a gourmet burger. However, fries and drinks add up quickly, easily pushing a meal for two past the $30 mark.  While the ingredients are high-quality, the overall feel might be more fast-casual than a sit-down restaurant, leaving some to question the value proposition.

Five Guys

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Five Guys is a popular choice for burger lovers who crave customization. They offer a seemingly endless list of toppings you can add to your burger, all free of charge. This can be a significant selling point, but it also contributes to the hefty price tag. A single burger with fries and a drink can easily reach $20. While the portions are generous, some might argue they’re simply too big, leading to waste. Additionally, the atmosphere is very basic, with limited seating and a focus on takeout.

In-N-Out Burger

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In-N-Out Burger has a cult following on the West Coast, but its expansion eastward has sparked debate. Its menu is very limited, focusing primarily on burgers, fries, and drinks. While its burgers are undeniably tasty, some might argue that the price doesn’t justify the simplicity. A Double-Double Combo, including french fries and a medium drink, will cost you  $9.15. In areas where In-N-Out is a novelty, the cost might be more readily accepted. However, in regions with established and diverse burger options, the value proposition becomes less clear.

Red Robin

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Red Robin falls under the category of “casual dining” burger chains.  While they offer a wide variety of gourmet burgers and menu items beyond just burgers, the price reflects this broader selection.  Entrees can easily reach the $15-$20 range and combo meals can push even higher.  While the portions are appropriate for the price, some customers feel the quality doesn’t quite justify the cost compared to a more traditional fast-food burger joint.


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Culver’s is a popular Midwestern chain known for their “ButterBurgers,” which are cooked on a buttered griddle. This adds a distinct flavor, but some might find it a bit too rich or greasy.  While their menu offers variety beyond burgers, including cheese curds and frozen custard, Culver’s falls into the category of fast food with slightly higher prices. The ButterBurger alone costs $4.99. Adding just cheese will spike the price to $5.49. Their burgers are delicious, but they don’t necessarily justify a significant price jump compared to other fast-food options.

Additionally, the atmosphere might be seen as more family-oriented than a place for a gourmet burger experience.

Wayback Burgers

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Wayback Burgers focuses on allowing customers to customize their burgers completely with a vast array of toppings. This can be a fun and satisfying experience, but its price can be a sticker shock. Even the simplest Classic burger costs $8.49. A burger piled high with premium toppings can quickly reach double-digit prices. While the ingredients are undoubtedly fresh, the question arises whether a more basic burger with a curated selection of toppings might offer a better value.


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Smashburger offers a unique cooking method in which the patties are “smashed” on the grill, creating a crispy exterior and juicy center. Their burgers are undeniably tasty, but some might argue that the price point doesn’t significantly differentiate them from other gourmet burger chains. In their signature burger range, the only one that is priced under $10 is the Classic Smash burger at $8.60. The overall experience leans more towards fast-casual dining, with limited table service and a focus on takeout.

Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s

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Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s (regional chains owned by the same company) are known for their extravagant menu items like the “Famous Star” with multiple patties and excessive toppings. While these options might be tempting for some, they can be quite expensive, often exceeding $10 for a single burger.  The core menu items, like their basic cheeseburgers, might not offer the same level of perceived value compared to other fast-food burger chains.

Fatburger & Buffalo’s

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Fatburger & Buffalo’s offers massive burgers, sometimes with multiple patties and extravagant toppings.  While their portion sizes are undeniably generous, they can be overwhelming and lead to food waste. The price tag reflects the size, often exceeding $10 for a single burger.  The cheapest you can get is $9.49 for the Original Fatburger. This can be appealing for those with a big appetite, but for others, it might be more burger than they bargained for. Additionally, the overall dining experience might not match the premium price point.

The Habit Burger Grill

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The Habit Burger Grill prides itself on charbroiled burgers made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Their menu offers some interesting twists on classic burgers,  like their Teriyaki Charburger. However, similar to Shake Shack, the overall experience might lean more towards fast-casual than true sit-down dining.  While the burgers are tasty, some might argue the price tag doesn’t quite reflect the atmosphere. The burgers only start at $7.49. For those seeking a more upscale burger experience with a price to match, The Habit Burger Grill might not be the perfect fit.


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Wendy’s boasts about using fresh, never-frozen beef patties in their burgers. This is a major selling point compared to many fast-food competitors. However, some customers argue that the quality of other ingredients, like the buns or toppings, doesn’t quite match the standard set by the beef. Additionally, while Wendy’s offers value through dollar menu items, their premium burgers can reach prices closer to casual dining options like the Spicy Chicken Fillet for $9.80 or the Chikenator for $15. 

Steak ‘n Shake

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Steak ‘n Shake offers a variety of thin, steak-style burgers and classic milkshakes. While their burgers have a devoted following,  they might not be for everyone. The burger only comes in a combo pack with fries and drinks, which starts at $10.49+. Additionally,  the shakes can be quite expensive, especially for the size.  For those seeking a hearty burger experience, Steak ‘n Shake might fall short.

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

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Freddy’s offers a nostalgic diner experience with thin, griddle-cooked burgers and their signature frozen custard. However, the burgers themselves might be underwhelming for those who prefer a thicker, juicier patty. Additionally, the burgers can only be bought as a part of a combo meal which starters from $11.45+.

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