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The "McFreshening"
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Perhaps the McMarketers at headquarters in Illinois finally grew weary of being beaten up by Wendy's, Five Guys, In-N-Out, and others for so long on the fresh versus frozen issue. Or perhaps they realized that fresh really does taste better-- every time. After all any true burger expert knows that it was just a matter of time until people figured that one out. But offering fresh, never frozen meats can require major alterations in the supply chain in terms of where and how the beef is sourced, how it is transported, and how/where/how long it is stored, among other issues. And as Chipotle well knows, fresh ingredients are more difficult to control, posing a relatively higher health risk than stuff that is frozen. But "fresh" is now king in the burger world (even if Burger King hasn't yet gotten the message), and McDonald's knows that it needs to make major changes to meet changing consumer tastes.

 Image result for mcdonalds fresh

So after a few months of waiting, we can now enjoy a Quarter Pounder at all locations that will be made from fresh beef. It actually does taste much better. Indeed McDonald's has positioned itself as the most convenient way to get inexpensive burgers and other sandwiches at all hours of the day and night and has made changes to its Value Menu that have resonated well with consumers; but switching to fresh (especially for just one product) will almost certainly raise costs. In addition, the brand already suffers from perceptions of poor service, so one would hope that the move doesn't disrupt in-store operations as well as the supply chain. These are certainly concerns. But all in all, moving toward higher quality is always a good move, and kudos to McMarketers for taking a bold step forward.

 

Discussion:  Does fresh beef appeal to you over frozen? Do you think the Quarter Pounder's improvement will make McDonald's more competitive? Wraps, salads, etc. have not been successful for the company, but neither have attempts to introduce higher quality burgers (Big 'N Tasty, Angus Burger, etc.). Should they extend the "fresh" concept to all of their burgers as Wendy's and other chains have done?