Why McDonald's Is Switching to Fresh Beef

Your Quarter Pounder may taste a little different in the coming weeks.

Why McDonald's Is Switching to Fresh Beef

McDonald’s says it’s switching from frozen beef to fresh in some 14,000 U.S. locations by early May. The company officially rolled out the concept at 3,500 stores today. Sorry about your luck, Hawaii and Alaska. You’ll still get frozen beef.

It’s the latest in a series of moves by the chain (which have included dollar menus and removing antibiotics from its chicken) to woo customers as competition increases in the food industry.

So what led to the decision? It certainly wasn’t a cost-saving strategy. Suppliers spent roughly $60m to adjust for the transition and kitchens in restaurants had to be changed as well to create separate drawers for the patties. In the end, it came down to a few issues.

Changing consumer tastes

In recent years, consumers have shown a growing preference for fresh products overall, an offshoot of the “buy local” movement. The collective belief among restaurant-goers is that foods, once frozen, don’t taste quite as good. Whether that’s accurate or not, it’s affecting how diners select where they will eat.

Speed

Fresh beef cooks faster than frozen, which could cycle customers through faster. The downside, though, is many fresh burgers aren’t started until the customer places an order, whereas McDonald’s would historically cook batches of burgers in advance.

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McDonald’s says it’s switching from frozen beef to fresh in some 14,000 U.S. locations by early May. The company officially rolled out the concept at 3,500 stores today. Sorry about your luck, Hawaii and Alaska. You’ll still get frozen beef.

It’s the latest in a series of moves by the chain (which have included dollar menus and removing antibiotics from its chicken) to woo customers as competition increases in the food industry.

So what led to the decision? It certainly wasn’t a cost-saving strategy. Suppliers spent roughly $60m to adjust for the transition and kitchens in restaurants had to be changed as well to create separate drawers for the patties. In the end, it came down to a few issues.

Changing consumer tastes

In recent years, consumers have shown a growing preference for fresh products overall, an offshoot of the “buy local” movement. The collective belief among restaurant-goers is that foods, once frozen, don’t taste quite as good. Whether that’s accurate or not, it’s affecting how diners select where they will eat.

Speed

Fresh beef cooks faster than frozen, which could cycle customers through faster. The downside, though, is many fresh burgers aren’t started until the customer places an order, whereas McDonald’s would historically cook batches of burgers in advance.

Read full article

Why McDonald's Is Switching to Fresh Beef