McDonald's to expand use of fresh beef

by Erica Shaffer
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 McDonalds
More than 75 restaurants in Oklahoma will use fresh beef in Quarter Pounder burgers.
 

TULSA, Okla. – McDonald’s Corp. continues to test made-to-order fresh beef patties in some of its restaurants. The burger chain announced that new Quarter Pounder burgers will be made with fresh, never frozen beef in more than 75 McDonald’s restaurants in northeast Oklahoma.

The Quarter Pounder line, which includes the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Quarter Pounder Deluxe or the Bacon Clubhouse Burger, will now be made with fresh beef. The company began testing fresh beef in select restaurants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. A shift to fresh beef would be significant for McDonald’s, which uses frozen beef patties at most of its restaurants.

“McDonald’s Culinary Team is passionate about creating the perfect burger for our customers,” said McDonald’s Chef Chad Schafer.  “These burgers are hotter and juicier than our previous quarter-lb. patties, and are made with fresh 100 percent North American beef that’s simply seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper.”

The tests of fresh beef are part of McDonald’s strategy to improve the customer experience at its restaurants. The chain recently announced plans to roll out table service to its 14,000 restaurants in the United States. Other enhancements include more payment options, digital menu boards and refreshed interiors.

CEO Steven Easterbrook said during an investor conference in June that the company has operational issues to work through before transitioning to fresh beef such as storage and chillers to accommodate fresh beef. Easterbrook said a transition represented an opportunity for McDonald’s to upgrade the entire dining experience at its restaurants.

“… There is more opportunity for us to move up the pricing ladder than for the mid-tier or that fast-casual (concept) to move down,” Easterbrook said at the investor conference. “Their business models aren’t really built on the basis where they will have to compete on a price basis and reduce.

“For us, our ability to step up the price ladder is greater but we’ve got to earn the right. We can’t just do it by just moving prices, we have to enhance the entire experience, the whole restaurant design and facility, the service experience, the food and continue to (be) best in the quality.”

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