McDonald’s has been attempting to go back to the basics to rework its fast food image. Earlier this month, the company announced that it would be catering to existing customers by focusing on hamburger sales, instead of selling wraps and other healthier products to draw in new customers.
Now the chain is doubling down on its burger approach. In an announcement made Thursday, the company said that it would be transitioning from using frozen patties to fresh beef in the majority of its restaurants by mid-2018. The change will augment other modernization efforts, such as using ordering kiosks and providing mobile payment options.
“Today’s announcement is part of a continuing food journey for McDonald’s,” said McDonald’s U.S. President Chris Kempczinski.
This isn’t the first time that McDonald’s has talked about using fresh beef to make its burgers. About a year ago, the company started testing the idea in 14 restaurants in the Dallas area, saying that if consumers liked it then they would consider rolling it out nationally.
That program eventually expanded to hundreds of restaurants in the Dallas area, and consumers were happy to see that the change did not overly affect prices, according to the New York Times. While McDonald’s spokeswoman Becca Hary pointed out that prices will ultimately be set by franchise owners, she stated that the company did not expect consumers to feel much burden.
“We do not anticipate there will be any significant impact on price when this sandwich rolls out nationally,” she said.
Catering to customers
While they may be responsible for setting future prices, some franchise owners have expressed concerns about switching from frozen patties. They point out that freezing their product is a good way of killing pathogens like E. coli, and that using fresh beef increases the risk of possible contamination.
Despite that risk, McDonald’s seems to be running with its new identity of giving the customers what they want. Hary said that if the fresh beef change goes well, then changes to other items could be just around the corner.
“[McDonald’s will] continue to look at the rest of the menu based on what the customers are asking for,” she said.