Marketing

McDonald's is making several improvements to its burgers

The fast-food chain is making a number of small changes to its Big Macs and classic Cheeseburgers, including a hotter sear and melted cheese, which the company believes lead to a big improvement in quality.
McDonald's burgers
McDonald's is making several improvements to burgers with smaller patties, such as the Double Cheeseburger. / Photos courtesy of McDonald's.

McDonald’s is debuting several small changes to its Big Macs and Classic Cheeseburger that the company believes to be a huge improvement in their overall quality.

Known internally as “Best Burger,” the changes involve the tenth-pound burgers used in its classic Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers, McDouble, Double Cheeseburger and Big Mac. The changes will include softer buns that are toasted, melted cheese and onions that are added to the patties while they are on the grill to give them a caramelized flavor.

The company is also adding more sauce to its Big Macs, to ensure customers get more sauce in every bite. And it is adjusting its grill settings to improve the sear on the burgers. It is also tempering the cheese so it melts.

The changes are all relatively small individually. The burgers will still be cooked frozen, unlike made-to-order Quarter Pounders. And the burger patties will still be kept in warmers, though operators will prepare smaller batches of them more frequently to reduce the amount of time a typical patty is held before being served.

Yet the company believes the changes will all lead to significant improvements in the quality of those burgers. The changes have been taking place for years in international markets. And the changes have already been implemented in various markets in the Western U.S., including Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland Ore., San Francisco, Sacramento, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Boise, Tucson and other cities.

McDonald's Big Mac

Big Macs will now get more Big Mac sauce.

The new burgers will come to all U.S. markets by next year, the company said. The company is bringing back the Hamburglar to market the changes.

“We found that small changes, like tweaking our process to get hotter, meltier cheese and adjusting our grill settings for a better sear, added up to a big difference in making our burgers more flavorful than ever,” Chad Schafer, senior director of culinary innovation for McDonald’s USA, said in a statement.

McDonald’s has been pushing to improve the quality of its menu in a bid to dispel consumers' skepticism about fast-food quality. The Chicago-based burger giant in 2021 added a new line of upgraded chicken sandwiches, which it now calls “McCrispy.” Three years before that, the company started serving Quarter Pounders made to order with fresh beef.  

McDonald’s is coming off a strong sales year in the U.S. The company did not close locations for the first time in years and total system sales grew 6% to nearly $49 billion, according to data from Restaurant Business sister company Technomic.

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