Burgers have dominated America's fast food industry for decades. But its greasy reign could be coming to an end as US consumers swap the Whopper for coffee and chicken sandwiches.
That's according to a new research note by Janney Capital Markets, a financial-services firm, which expects Burger King and Wendy's to be knocked-out of the top five fast food chains by 2020 in a reshuffle of the American restaurant industry.
Rivals Starbucks, Subway, Dunkin' Donuts and Chick-fil-A, a chicken fast-food chain founded by a devout Southern Baptist, will benefit the most from the decline of the burger, fries and coke meal in favour of what consumers perceive as healthier options.
Burger restaurants currently account for three of the top five fast food chains by sales in the US with McDonald's leading the pack with $35.9 billion in sales in 2013, followed by sandwich giant Subway and Starbucks.
The strangest food hybrids
The strangest food hybrids
1/6 The Cronut
The croissant-doughnut hybrid is hugely popular in the US - though the New York bakery famous for its Cronuts had to close earlier this year due to a “severe mouse infestation”. Mice love cronuts.
2/6 The KFC Double Down
What if sandwiches were made with chicken instead of bread? KFC provided the answer to this age-old question when they introduced the Double Down four years ago.
3/6 Deep-fried Mars bar
Until 1995, Scotland was famous for sheep's pluck minced with onion, oatmeal, and suet (or 'haggis'). Then came battered chocolate bars.
4/6 Waffle Taco
McDonalds thought they had the junk food breakfast market covered - but Taco Bell re-invented the Egg McMuffin. It apparently took 80 different tries to come up with this.
5/6 The Ramenrrito
Japanese or Mexican tonight? No need to decide between the two! If you live in New York, that is, where this noodly burrito is available.
6/6 Chocolate Eclair Hotdog
We can thank Canada for this sweet meaty treat. It's incredible easy to make at home, too.
Janney expects Burger King and Wendy's to emerge as the biggest losers, slipping to sixth and eighth position, while Mexican food chains, Taco Bell and Chipotle Mexican Grill, move higher as consumers ditch burgers for burritos and tacos.
The report comes after McDonald's, Yum Brand!, the owner of Pizza Hut and KFC, Starbucks and Burger King were dragged into a food scandal in China last month following allegations that one of its suppliers sold rotten meat to its international clients.
Yesterday, McDonald's warned that sales in Asia, which account for 10 per cent of its revenue, had plunged as a result of the latest food scare to hit the country.