April 18, 2019 / 2:44 PM / 4 months ago

McDonald's pulls Signature Crafted burgers, doubles down on Quarter Pounders

(Reuters) - McDonald’s Corp said it would remove costlier, premium burgers from its menus in favor of its more popular Quarter Pounders, shifting its focus to simpler and quickly-served burgers.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of a McDonald's Corp restaurant is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The burger chain added the Signature Crafted burgers to its menu two years ago to keep up with competition from Wendy’s and Shake Shack, which serve more premium burgers using fresh ingredients.

But putting together the burgers took time, slowing down service lines at drive-thrus and at stores.

These premium beef, grilled or crispy chicken burgers came with condiments like pico guacamole, sweet BBQ bacon or maple bacon dijon, compared with the Quarter Pounders, which are beef patties served with ketchup, pickles and onions.

The company said its new deluxe and bacon Quarter Pounders received good feedback and it would continue to focus on such items.

“It (the removal) probably has more to do about the process of cooking the burger in McDonald’s than it does what the consumer is saying about the food,” said Howard Penney, a managing director at Hedgeye Risk Management.

Big franchisees also did not buy into the idea of McDonald’s pricier burgers initially, mindful of the cooking time required for these made-to-order burgers.

“It makes it easier for the people running the stores and operating the stores ... simple is good,” Penney said.

The move is seen as a positive, coming at a time when quick service restaurants are moving away from customization and focusing more on transparency in the ingredients used.

This is the second time McDonald’s has tweaked its menu this month, after trimming down its late-night menu to keep only eights items.

Shares of the Dow component have risen nearly 18 percent in the past year, outperforming the Dow Jones Industrial Index’s 6.7 percent rise.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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