Think French food is all about fancy foie gras served with difficult-to-pronounce ingredients?
It turns out the people of France have pretty similar tastes to American diners.
According to a new study, three quarters of restaurants in France have a hamburger on their menu and 80 percent say the burger is the top selling dish.
"Burger mania (in France) is unstoppable,” Bernard Boutboul, director of Gira Conseil, the food consultant firm behind the study, told The Telegraph.
In the U.S. sales of burgers have been steadily climbing, boosted by the proliferation of higher-end chains like Shake Shack and Five Guys. Burger chain revenue topped $70 billion in 2013.
In France last year, people ate 1.19 billion burgers—that’s roughly 16 burgers per person annually, accounting for an 11 percent rise in just a year. The burger has become so popular that it may replace the French lunchtime staple “jambon beurre" (ham and butter baguette). Sales of the classic sandwich fell to 1.23 billion in 2015.
"If it goes on like this, then one can assume that within two years sales of the jambon-beurre and burger will be neck and neck,” said Boutboul.
It’s not just higher end restaurants that are reaping the benefits of France’s burger obsession. The country is McDonald’s biggest market outside of the U.S. and was one of the few nations in the world where the chain recorded a rise in revenue last year. Boutboul says the quick-serve restaurants McDonald’s, Burger King and the French chain Quick account for about a third of the burgers sold in the country.
The burger, says Boutboul has gone "from basic fast food to Michelin-starred restaurants…More than a fad, it has become a way of life … the dish is no longer out of place in any surrounding or decor."
U.S. burger joints are responding to the France’s demand. Five Guys is set to open its first Parisian location in a few weeks.
But the French still have a long way to go when it comes to beating American burger consumption.
In 2014, American restaurants sold over 9 billion burgers meaning the average American chowed down on more than 28 burgers that year.