McDonald’s is synonymous with quick and cheap meals (and hangover breakfasts, let’s be real), but high-quality, fresh ingredients? Not so much. But the fast-food giant is hoping to flip-flop its reputation with the rollout of a new menu item that’s a serious departure from anything it’s done before — we’re talking fresh beef patties.
I think we’re all pretty used to the uniform gray, chewy, bizarrely synthetic yet meaty patties served at McDonald’s, and it would be hard to claim that they’re great. Fresh beef patties, like those used at Wendy’s, could change all that while also helping McDonald’s compete with fast-casual burger chains like Five Guys and Shake Shack.
The downside (and reason McD’s hasn’t brought in fresh beef until now) is that it will, of course, take longer to cook a fresh beef Quarter Pounder. And that could seriously cramp the drive-thru’s ability to crank out quarter-pounders during its busiest times. Sure, it’ll only take about a minute longer to cook fresh beef patties than the usual frozen pucks that pass for burgers, but when there are 10 people waiting in line, those minutes add up.
But still, you’d probably be waiting less than five minutes total to get your meal, which is faster than any sit-down restaurant I know of. And in the test markets of Dallas and Oklahoma, the new fresh beef patties McDonald’s is testing have met with success.
McD’s plans to introduce fresh beef Quarter Pounders to even more locations in Texas this year, and they’ll be available at most of its stores in 2018 (in addition to to regular pre-cooked Big Macs you’re used to).
I for one would be a lot more likely to stop in at McDonald’s if I knew it was using fresher ingredients — only time will tell if this helps McDonald’s keep up with its fresh meat-hawking competitors.