McDonald’s Corp (NYSE: MCD) on Monday said launching fresh beef helped the Company gain market share in the informal eating out (IEO) category for the first time in five years.
The fast-food chain introduced fresh beef quarter-pounders last May, sending burger sales soaring more than 50% in the first month. McDonald’s managed to keep these sales up an average of 30% nationwide throughout the entire first year. Chris Kempczinski, McDonald’s U.S.A. President added that the upgrade in food quality resulted in the sale of “40 million more quarter-pound burgers in Q1 2019 than in Q1 2018.”
The shift to fresh beef was one of the “”biggest, boldest moves that we’ve made in a long time,” said Marion Gross, the Company’s Chief Supply Chain Officer for North America. It’s the biggest supply chain change the McDonald’s has made since it started serving all-day breakfast in 2015, she noted. The Company’s fresh beef launch, although successful, put an initial strain on franchisees who had to pay for upgraded kitchen equipment like refrigeration and storage systems.
McDonald’s now shares the fresh beef arena with rival Wendy’s, who has long boasted its beef patties were always fresh. Sadly, Wendy’s social media team can’t poke fun at McDonald’s for selling frozen patties anymore. Last March, the Company got in one last dig: “Hey @McDonalds, heard the news. Happy #NationalFrozenFoodDay to you for all the frozen beef that’s sticking around in your cheeseburgers,” Wendy’s tweeted.
McDonald’s next beef venture may not include beef at all. The Company currently serves a vegan burger in Germany as it considers introducing a plant-based protein burger to the U.S. menu.