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The fast food giant said Monday it has sold 40 million more Quarter Pounder burgers in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same quarter in 2018 after swapping frozen for fresh beef patties.
“We’re proud that taste and food quality drives sales,” McDonald’s USA president Chris Kempczinski said in a news release. “Our numbers speak for themselves, with the introduction of fresh beef and the promotions including fresh beef quarter-pound burgers helping result in a sustained quarter-pound burger sales increase 30 percent on average throughout the entire first year. And ultimately, McDonald’s sold 40 million more quarter-pound burgers in Q1 2019 than in Q1 2018.”
McDonald’s introduced fresh beef Quarter Pounders in May 2018 and saw immediate results, with more than a 50 percent increase in the burger sales during the first month of promotions. Customers seemed to be "lovin’ it" and continued going back for more.
The switch from frozen to fresh wasn’t easy for McDonald’s. The fast-food chain added new refrigerators that were “designed to maintain proper refrigeration temperatures and increased the required internal temperature standard for cooked patties” to prevent health issues at restaurants. Utensils were swapped to handle fresh beef.
McDonald's restaurants in Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories do not have fresh beef.
The fresh beef patties also came in special packaging.
The frozen to fresh switch was McDonald’s most significant change to its menu since introducing All Day Breakfast in 2015.
“We’ve proven that when we listen to our customers, good things happen,” said Marion Gross, McDonald’s senior vice president of supply chain management.
While McDonald’s is finding success in fresh beef, some of its competitors are thriving on plant-based meat burgers. Burger King announced earlier this year that it will be adding the Impossible Whopper to all U.S. locations after a successful test run.
White Castle, Burger King, Little Caesars, Tim Hortons, Taco Bell and TGI Fridays are among the other restaurants that have also added meat alternatives to their menus.
McDonald’s said in May that it isn’t ready to jump on the plant-based bandwagon just yet.
“We obviously have to assess whether consumer demand at what level we believe would be sustained and make the right decision based on how the model works and the important complex considerations of our restaurant,” Silvia Lagnado, the chain’s global chief marketing officer and director of its menu, said during its annual shareholder meeting.
McDonald’s did, however, release the Big Vegan TS option in restaurants in Germany in April.