McDonald’s Swaps Frozen for Fresh Beef Patties

For its Quarter Pounder, the fast-food chain will now use fresh, not frozen, beef.

March 07, 2018

OAK BROOK, Ill. – Within two months, McDonald’s Quarter Pounders will be made with fresh, not frozen, beef patties, Wall Street Journal reports. The move comes as customers desire less processed foods that chains like Shake Shack and Smashburger serve. The fresh beef will be available at 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

“At the end of the day McDonald’s is a burger company, and there’s no more important place for us to focus on improving the quality of our food,” said McDonald’s USA President Chris Kempczinski.

The burger chain has seen success lately, with same-store sales up last year for the first time since 2012. McDonald’s pointed to its revamped value menu and all-day breakfast items as contributing the positive growth. The company also pointed out customer approval of chicken nuggets made without artificial preservatives and breakfast products made from cage-free eggs.

For more than 40 years, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder burgers have been made from frozen patties, but today’s consumers want a fresher, more flavorful burger. Fresh, cooked-to-order burgers will also be used on “signature” burgers. “We will have recipes that do these patties justice,” said Linda VanGosen, U.S. head of U.S. menu.

To prepare for handling fresh beef, franchisees have been buying new fridges and containers, as well as working on isolating raw beef handling to avoid cross-contamination. McDonald’s will allow franchisees to charge more for the fresh beef burgers, but emphasized that speed and consistency will still be key.

“Most of the boutique burger places you’re going to have to wait,” said Joe Jasper, who owns 20 McDonald’s around Fort Worth, Texas. Jasper assisted in testing fresh beef at his restaurants. “We can’t let our drive-through slow down. We’ve been able to crack that code.”