: Why is McDonald’s changing its burger recipe? Some say it’s the threat of competition.

by | Apr 17, 2023 | Stock Market

Did Shake Shack
prod McDonald’s
to make a better burger? That’s the question some restaurant industry analysts and insiders are asking in light of today’s announcement from the Golden Arches that it’s indeed  “about to make our classic burgers even better” (the italics in that statement come from the company itself). 

Specifically, the fast-food giant has outlined four key changes it’s making to its burgers, with implementation scheduled nationwide by 2024. The buns will be “softer” and “pillowy.” The cheese will be “perfectly melted.” The patties will have a “juicier, caramelized flavor” as a result of white onions being added while the meat is still cooking. And finally, there will be more Big Mac sauce slathered on for “tangy sweetness.” Veteran fast-food analyst Mark Kalinowski says McDonald’s is in a secure financial position — the company’s stock is up 9% this year, after all — but that it’s always mindful about maintaining its status as America’s top burger destination. And that means it’s likely mindful of how the burger world has evolved, with so many fast-casual burger-centric chains, such as Shake Shack and Five Guys, becoming more established over the years, Kalinowski says. And that’s to say nothing of how other fast-food chains have built solid burger programs —specifically, Kalinowski points to Wendy’s as a growing threat.  The bottom line? McDonald’s “is No. 1 and they want to stay No. 1,” says Kalinowski. Alper Uyanik, a founder of Harlem Burger Co., an independent restaurant in New York City, says the changes that McDonald’s is making are very much the culinary methods that many fast-casual burger restaurants have in place, including his own. If anything, he says McDonald’s could go a step further — say, by brushing its buns with butter, another popular technique embraced by the “better burger” movement. Uyanik says this is still no small investment on the part of McDonald’s, noting that it takes added time …

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