It’s No ‘Kroc’: McDonald’s Flips People Out with Fresh Burger Move
Fast-food chain that made quick-serve meals famous for years now offers a new 'bite' — will it work?
McDonald’s, the hamburger chain that revolutionized fast food, has ditched the frozen patties in favor of a fresher approach.
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, made the flat, greasy patties an addictive bite-sized staple of American culture for decades.
The paper-wrapped “100 percent all-beef” morsels could be grabbed at “to-go” windows and could be unwrapped by hungry customers on afternoon commutes, for a guilty late-night snack, on the way to the high school football game, or virtually anything else.
Happy Meals, an ingenious marketing innovation, gave kids another reason to beg their parents for a bite of those delicious little patties: A plastic toy made the whole experience “fun.”
Along with all that “fun,” however, came extra pounds. The burger chain became saddled with a reputation for contributing to the obesity epidemic — most famously with a documentary, “Super Size Me,” which followed one man’s quest to show that bigger wasn’t always better.
Since those carefree days of throwing caution to the wind in the late 1990s and early 2000s, a culture shift has taken place in America. Millennials have wanted a fresher, healthier brand of food, and McDonald's has heard those cries.
The restaurant franchise shared news of the fresher patties in March. Those have been rolling out from coast to coast and recently hit Florida establishments, among others.
"Today, McDonald’s USA announced that fresh beef, cooked right when ordered, in all Quarter Pounder and Signature Crafted Recipe burgers, is now available across approximately 3,500 restaurants in select markets and is on track for rollout to all participating restaurants in the contiguous U.S. by early May," the fast-food chain announced in March.
The implementation of fresher burgers in chains throughout Florida was a development reported by the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday. The freshness push is about capturing consumers looking for a premium burger experience, it noted — more so than nutrition.
"Fresh meat is not nutritionally more dense than frozen, and meat with sufficient fat thaws and cooks quite well without a lot of liquid 'purge,'" the publication noted.
"It is with more subjective measures like texture and juiciness that fresh edges out its colder competition. That said, the cult of 'fresh' is a bit of a runaway train: The rising national preference for fresh foods has been met with a corresponding surge in food waste in the U.S."
One cannot help but notice a corresponding rise in prices. It remains to be seen how McDonald's will fare against competition such as Starbucks, in addition to Wendy's and other chains that have been selling fresh burgers for years.
McDonald's is still best as a fast splurge that can be grabbed on the go. If it can keep delivering what made the burger chain famous, Americans will keep turning to the franchise to take one more bite.