McDonald’s to introduce McPlant meat alternative, drive-thru-only restaurants, new food packaging

That's not to mention its latest Crispy Chicken Sandwich or new burger-cooking practices

McDonald’s is McReady to go all-in on plant-based meat.

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As part of its Investors Day event Monday, McDonald’s revealed a number of new culinary and restaurant initiatives planned for the near future, designed to provide quicker, more user-friendly customer experiences and a wider range of menu options.

Among those initiatives, the brand confirmed plans to begin testing its “McPLant” offering — made with its own proprietary plant-based patties — in 2021.

“There are other plant-based burgers out there, but the McPlant delivers our iconic taste in a sink-your-teeth-in (and wipe-your-mouth) kind of sandwich. It’s made with a juicy, plant-based patty and served on a warm, sesame seed bun with all the classic toppings,” the company announced in an article published Monday.

A representative for Beyond Meat confirmed to Fox News that the brand worked with McDonald's to develop its McPlant patties. (Earlier this year, McDonald’s Canada had tested a meat-free burger made with Beyond Meat in its P.L.T. — Plant, Lettuce, Tomato — Burger, though the trial ended in the summer.)

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McDonald’s has big plans for its beef, too. The chain announced that within “the next couple of years,” its burgers will be made in smaller batches, with onions added to the patties as they grill for “more flavor.” This practice has already been introduced in Australia and Canada as of last year, McDonald’s said.

Moving on to chicken, of course McDonald’s is not content to just let Popeyes enjoy the success of the sandwich it made popular in 2019. After testing two different fried chicken sandwiches last year, McDonald’s plans to introduce yet another Crispy Chicken Sandwich in early 2021 “to continue building on its chicken portfolio.”

In addition to the foods themselves, McDonald's is debuting new packaging designs globally "over the next two years" to create a "consistent look." (McDonald's)

Aside from the food, McDonald’s also plans to update its digital customer experience with tailored offerings and loyalty programs offered to app or online users while aiming to enhance delivery options for those ordering off-site. But it’s the drive-thru experience that might look most different to consumers.

“Customers’ desire for convenience, speed and ease will only grow, and we’re ready for that,” said Mason Smoot, senior vice president and chief restaurant officer, of the increased demand in drive-thru ordering amid the pandemic.

“We’re taking steps to accelerate our phenomenal Drive-Thru advantage.”

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Those steps, as McDonald’s describes, include automating the “order taking” in some locations and even offering a whole new lane for customers who order ahead for pickup.

Like Wendy’s and Burger King, the company is also conceptualizing takeout-only locations to provide drive-thru, takeout and digital ordering options only.

Like Wendy’s and Burger King, McDonald's is also conceptualizing takeout-only locations to provide drive-thru, takeout and digital ordering options only. (McDonald's)

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“This is the start of something new for McDonald’s,” said CEO Chris Kempczinski. “This is a moment when we proudly embrace both what we are going to do to write the next chapter of McDonald’s growth and how we are going to do it. This is a moment when we share a new growth strategy for our future while articulating a clear vision of where we’re going to make a difference for a world in need of community and connection.”