Facing heavy competition from upstarts like Five Guys and old rivals like Wendy’s that use fresh beef in their burgers, McDonald’s has announced the roll out of fresh beef patties to it’s restaurants in the 48 contiguous states. Since adding an ingredient to its menu usually makes McDonald’s one of the world’s largest buyers of that ingredient, there probably isn’t enough fresh beef available to make every McDonald’s burger. The company is rolling out fresh beef to its Quarter Pounders first.
Daniel Victor writes at The New York Times that the change is one customers have been asking for.
The change, which is intended to improve taste but would not carry nutritional benefits, would mean burgers are prepared as customers order them and served off the grill. Beef patties for the company’s signature Big Macs and other cheeseburgers would continue to be frozen, prepared ahead of time and kept warm.
Becca Hary, a McDonald’s spokeswoman, said McDonald’s would “continue to look at the rest of the menu based on what the customers are asking for.”
Since prices are set by individual franchise owners, the effect on pricing is unknown. About 90 percent of the chain’s 14,000 restaurants are independently owned and operated.
But Ms. Hary said prices did not rise when McDonald’s tested the concept at hundreds of locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and in Tulsa, Okla.
“We do not anticipate there will be any significant impact on price when this sandwich rolls out nationally,” she said.
Read more here. It remains to be seen if extra business generated by adding fresh burger will outweigh the costs.