Frozen patties will no longer be welcome at the Golden Arches.
McDonald’s officials who indicated earlier this year they were considering moving from frozen beef patties to fresh beef confirmed today that the change has already begun.
McDonald’s not only expects the switch from frozen to fresh beef for their signature quarter-pounder sandwich to help the fast food company compete with Wendy’s, but company officials are hoping it will dramatically cut down the time people wait in drive-thru’s.
McDonald’s announced that 3,500 stores will be using fresh beef for quarter-pounders and double quarter-pounders immediately with the rest of its stores nationwide switching from frozen beef to fresh beef within the next couple of months, according to Business Insider.
Advertising will promote a “better, juicier” burger.
The announcement comes just a month after one of their chief competitors, Wendy’s, launched an ad campaign attacking McDonald’s for its use of frozen beef patties.
The timing of Wendy’s ad was questioned since McDonald’s had already indicated it would be moving toward fresh beef.
Even as the Wendy’s ad launched, McDonald’s was testing its new offering and finding that customers were appreciative of the change.
The switchover is not going to be a cheap one for McDonald’s franchises. Fortune reports it will cost the company $60 million for changes to its supply chain, and thousands more for changes in the kitchen layout.
The company expects to make up that cost if customers like the fresh burgers, not only through higher volume sales, but also through improvements in getting customers in and out of the drive-thru’s at a faster rate.
McDonald’s has lagged behind other fast food restaurants in its drive-through times for the past several years with an average time of 208.2 seconds, compared to industry leader Wendy’s at 169.1 seconds.
McDonald’s also trails Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, and KFC in drive-thru time.
Fresh beef will help improve on the drive-thru time since it cooks faster than frozen beef. Company officials expect the faster time cycling customers through the drive-thru will boost profits.
The switch to fresh beef is just one of a number of moves McDonald’s has made in recent months in a sustained effort to regain its place in the fast food hierarchy.
The company has recently begun modernizing its menu with antibiotic-free chicken and gourmet Espresso in an effort to attract upper-scale customers who will be willing to pay higher prices for a more specialized offering.