The change at McDonald's is the latest as it seeks to shed its junk food image
The fast-food giant McDonald's has announced a fresh makeover to serve Quarter Pounders with fresh beef rather than frozen patties at about a quarter of its U.S. restaurants. According to the company the strategical change works to appeal customers desiring fresher foods.
By May, 14,000 U.S. restaurants will undergo this cuisine variation. The change at McDonald's is the latest as it seeks to shed its junk food image.
McDonalds said workers will cook up the fresh beef on a grill when the burger is ordered with its pre-prepared frozen patties.
Chris Kempczinski, who oversees McDonald's Corp.'s restaurants in the U.S. "The result is a hotter, juicier, great tasting burger." Its pricier "Signature Crafted" burgers, stuffed with guacamole or bacon, will also be made with fresh beef since they use the same sized patty as the Quarter Pounder. The Big Mac and its other burgers, however, will still be made with frozen beef.
A Wendy's Co. representative gave a frosty response said that Fresh beef has always been used by rival Wendy's, which aired a Super Bowl commercial last month criticizing the "flash frozen" beef at McDonald's. It's awesome" that McDonald's "is recommitting to using frozen beef on the majority of its hamburgers."
McDonald's, however, has signaled that it may use fresh beef in more burgers. Earlier this year, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company confirmed that it was testing a fresh beef burger that used a patty that was slightly smaller than the one in the Quarter Pounder, but larger than the one its hamburgers and cheeseburgers.
David Henkes, a senior principal at Technomic, a food industry market research firm said, "Fresh in the mind of the consumer really has a better-for-you connotation. It certainly has a perception that it's better than frozen."
The company tested the fresh beef Quarter Pounder for about two years in Dallas and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Eight more cities are serving it now, including some restaurants in Atlanta, Miami and Salt Lake City. It'll come to Denver, Houston and other cities over the next month before the nationwide rollout.
McDonald's said the switch is a major change for the company and the rollout takes time because cooks have to handle fresh beef and prepare patties only when ordered.