Egg Industry News and Commentary

  —  Apr 12

 
McDonald’s Banking On “Fresh Beef”

    

McDonald’s announced that it will switch from frozen to chilled [“fresh”] beef for Quarter Pounder sandwiches. The only difference will be storage temperature since McDonald’s has used 100% beef in all patties which to date have been flash frozen. The switch to chilled patties will impose some logistic problems and unless patties are adequately cooked, may represent a risk of food-borne infection which it is hoped management has considered.

  

Following the appointment of Steve Easterbrook as CEO, McDonald’s which had experienced almost two years of negative same-store sales, growth rose sharply with introduction of new menu options including all-day breakfast. This persisted through the last two quarters of 2015, although the Company has experienced a sharp decline in 2017 continuing negative growth for the last quarter of the most recent year.

Observers do not believe that the switch to chilled patties will make much difference to the company and its sales. Perhaps as an acknowledgement of this reality, Chris Kempczinski, USA president of McDonald’s was quoted in the Friday 31 March edition of the Wall Street Journal as stating “We are just getting started and we will continue to make moves on the burger line. Whether it’s this move exactly, I’m not sure but you should expect we will continue to elevate and meet customer expectations about what we can do with our burgers.”

The switch to chilled patties will not include stores in Alaska, Hawaii and also airport operations. This may represent a problem since consistency is an important principle of any QSR chain. If burgers have a different texture, juiciness or taste among stores, consumer disaffection will follow. Perhaps McDonald’s may benefit more from delivery and mechanization than from tinkering with food preparation and menus.