McDonald’s is perfecting its burger recipes, one tweak at a time.
Loyalists don’t need to panic. The fast food chain isn’t making any major changes to its menu. Rather the company is promoting its upgrades as refinements that will make existing menu items “our best burgers ever.”
“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,” said Chef Chad Schafer, McDonald’s USA’s senior director of culinary innovation, in a press release on April 17.
The changes include “softer, pillowy buns that are freshly toasted to a golden brown,” “perfectly melted cheese,” “juicier, caramelized flavor from adding white onions to the patties while they’re still on the grill,” and even more “tangy sweetness” in extra sauce on the Big Mac, the press release says.
McDonald’s first tried out the changes in other countries, including Australia, Canada and Belgium. It’s now testing its upgrades in Boise, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson and “surrounding cities.”
All U.S. restaurants will be serving the upgraded sandwiches by 2024.
To promote the burger tweaks, McDonald’s has brought back classic character The Hamburglar. In its press release, the company said that when you see commercials in your TV market featuring The Hamburglar, you’ll know the changes have been made to the burgers in your area.
Here’s one teaser spot pointing out the “hotter, juicier, tastier” aspects of the menu changes.
Other upgrades to McDonald’s menu in recent years included switching to fresh beef for the Quarter Pounder with Cheese in 2018 and releasing a Crispy Chicken Sandwich in 2021. (Getting rid of its salads in 2022, however, was a downgrade in many people’s opinions.)
McDonald’s changes seem to be working. CNN Business reported that sales were up 5.9% at the end of 2022 and 10.3% overall that year at stores that had been open 13 months or more.