The blueprint for the McDonald’s burger is a part of fast food industry folklore. Since first launching in 1940, the franchise’s signature sandwiches have grown to dominate the global food scene like little else, and are now eaten and enjoyed across the world.
However, for all the Golden Arches’ success, it has slowly become clear that times are changing. A more health conscious and food-literate public are less tempted by McDonald’s traditionally cheap and questionably-sourced menu. The perfect burger formula is in need of fixing.
In a dramatic departure from the strategy that has previously proved so successful, McDonald’s have announced a commitment to using fresh, rather than frozen, beef in restaurants across America.
Instead of being cooked offsite, frozen and distributed to outlets, McDonald’s plan to prepare fresh beef to order, delivering a “hotter, juicier” burger, without compromising on speed. This is an entirely new approach for the junk food giants, and could have competitors like Wendy’s and Burger King quaking in their boots.
According to McDonald’s spokespeople, this announcement has been in the works for some time. The franchise’s U.S president, Chris Kempczinski, stated in a press conference earlier this week that the business began looking to “make a step change” in the quality of their burgers over four years ago.
By rolling out fresh ingredients across 14,000 US locations and consequently transforming McDonalds’ public image, Kempczinski and the business hope that they can win back customers who may have been lost to more “upscale” brands.
However, remodeling a business that has historically been geared towards speed rather than quality is no mean feat. The entire McDonald’s machine, from supply, to safety, to training had to be re-examined in order to ensure that the business did not suffer any adverse effects.
According to Joe Jaspar, a Texan franchisee who owns 20 outlets in the Lone Star State, “What we wanted to make sure [was that we could] keep the drive-thrus open…And we’ve been able to crack that code”.
The proposed changes will affect several stalwart menu items, including the Quarter Pounder and Double Quarter Pounder, as well as all temporary Signature Crafted burgers. Early testing in Tulsa and Dallas seems to bode extremely well for the business, with 90 percent of customers stating that they would buy the new burgers again after trying them.
The prospect of a revamped McDonald’s, capable of retaining old customers whilst attracting new ones, has sent shockwaves through the fast food world.
This is not the first time that McDonald’s have attempted to modernize their affordability-focused menu. The addition of salads, gourmet drinks and antibiotic free poultry were early indicators that the business has been attempting to cater for a different clientele for some time. However, the change in the beef is the biggest signal of intent yet from the world’s most famous burger chain.
McDonald’s new approach maybe the greatest sign yet of changing attitudes within the food industry. Public demands for healthier, more ethically sourced produce are not falling on deaf ears, and the rise of independent “boutique” burger restaurants is clearly affecting the biggest names in the business. In the end, the fact that McDonald’s are prepared to adapt the formula that has brought them so much success shows that nothing lasts forever.