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McDonald's Is Trying The Novel Concept Of Making Burgers With Fresh Meat

By Stephen Gossett in Food on Mar 30, 2017 5:35PM

Getty Images / Photo: Justin Sullivan

When all else fails, you might as well try something radical. And if you're a fast-food juggernaut that built its billions on speed and affordability, "fresh beef" qualifies as "radical." McDonald's announced on Thursday that will be using fresh, grilled-to-order beef instead of frozen patties for its Quarter Pounders.

The decision to banish frozen meat, Hamburglar-style (at least for one menu item), isn't completely without precedent for the Oak Brook-based mega-chain. They've made dalliances toward the more health-conscious market by testing kale breakfast bowls in California, and they've tried countering the wave of anti-processed food sentiment by going after ascendant "gourmet" fast-casuals like Shake Shack with "premium" bun options. But this might be the biggest jump into "real" food so far.

At least in terms of a Fortune 100 company, the in-personality-crisis fast-food icon has seen some down times in recent years—even when it's not running triage on anti-Trumpist "hackers." As CNBC notes, the company has lost 500 million customer transactions since 2012 here in the States, and it has weathered some high-profile shakeups at the top.

The beef switcheroo—which reportedly will likely flummox some franchisees—is expected to happen in mid-2018.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

Wendy's, which has long touted its burgers' non-frozenness, responded to the news by starting some beef beef. Check out their shots-fired reply to the McDonald's announcement below.