McDonald's Rolls Out Fresh-Meat Quarter Pounders

Some burgers will still be frozen though.

London, England - January 1, 2013: McDonald's Fast Food Meal in Brown Paper Bag


London, England - January 1, 2013: McDonald's Fast Food Meal in Brown Paper Bag

Photo by: lenscap67


McDonald’s is getting fresh. The fast-food giant announced this month that it is rolling out burgers using fresh, rather than frozen, meat. You can expect the fresh patties, now available in about 3,500 McDonald’s locations in select markets across the country, to be ready for flipping nationwide in May.

The new fresh-meat burgers, which will be used in all Quarter Pounders and Signature Crafted burgers, will be cooked when ordered by a customer, rather than ahead of time. (Big Macs and other Micky-D burgers will still be frozen and prepared in advance – something Wendy’s, which has long served fresh meat in its burgers, took a few jabs at McDonald’s for on Twitter.)

McDonald’s new burgers are part of the Golden Arches’ move to appeal to customers’ changing tastes and demands and required a huge overhaul to the company’s infrastructure, supply chain and operations.

"The switch to fresh beef quarter-pound burgers is the most significant change to our system and restaurant operations since All Day Breakfast," McDonald’s USA President Chris Kempczinski said in a press release, adding that the new fresh burgers are "hotter and juicier" than the frozen ones, yet still delivered with "speed and convenience."

Developed over 18 months, the fresh, 100 percent beef quarter-pound burgers were tested in Dallas and Tulsa, where, McDonald’s says, 90 percent of customers said they liked them and would buy them again. Currently available in markets including Atlanta, Miami, Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, Memphis, Orlando and Salt Lake City, the juicy burgers are rolling into Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle and should be everywhere in the U.S. by early May. 

So does fresh meat really make a difference in terms of taste? The early reviews indicate it just might.

One reporter for the Chicago Tribune who tried it said the difference between the new burger and the old frozen one was "stark," calling the fresh patty "a clear winner."

"The fresh beef patty was indeed juicier than its frozen counterpart — if you squeezed the sandwich, the liquid trickled out and coalesced into a small puddle on the tray liner," Grace Wong wrote. "The flavor between the two was comparable, but the frozen patty was significantly more tough, while the fresh patty broke apart easily and maintained a nicer char, even reaching some crispiness on the edges."

It’s getting a favorable response on social media, too.

"Had McDonald’s quarter pounder fresh beef patty. Massive improvement over the old," wrote one Twitter user. "It’s actually juicy now."

"I told myself I would eat a salad for dinner but like... ‪@McDonalds is now serving fresh quarter pounders," wrote another. To which, McDonald’s responded, "We all love Overthinking, but why not both?"

Why not, indeed.

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