The decision to bring fresh beef to the majority of McDonald’s domestic locations was a costly one. McDonald’s suppliers spent upwards of $60 million updating their supply chain to transition from frozen Quarter Pounder patties to fresh ones.
Changes were also made in the McDonald’s kitchen. To prevent food safety issues, the company has created a separate drawer for the fresh beef patties that keeps them at the right temperature and staff must handle the meat using blue plastic gloves. This ensures that food preppers on the line do not handle any uncooked meat.
To promote the launch of fresh beef nationwide, McDonald’s is adding a new Signature Crafted Recipe to its menu. The Garlic White Cheddar burger features the fresh Quarter Pounder patty and is topped with lettuce, tomato, garlic chips, creamy garlic aioli and white cheddar cheese.
Fresh beef may not be a silver bullet for McDonald’s, however. Analysts in the last week have worried that the company may be cannibalizing its own sales with the number of promotions it has been launching.
Last Friday, David Palmer of RBC Capital Markets said that McDonald’s new Dollar Menu could pull customers away from its popular breakfast foods. He also said that he thinks the new Dollar Menu doesn’t have a “hero” item on it, something that will woo diners to McDonald’s over other fast food options.