McDonald’s decision to introduce to its menu fresh beef could turn out to be one of the biggest gambles that the fast food giant has ever made. This is because the fresh beef patties are slowing down the rate at which customers are served. The fresh beef patties which were introduced last year in several locations in Oklahoma and Texas as part of the fast food chain’s efforts to improve the quality of food are now available in more locations in the state of Texas. Next year the fresh beef patties are expected to be introduced nationwide.
Speeding up customer service has been an issue that McDonald’s has been grappling with especially in light of the fact that rivals such as Wendy’s, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King fare better. Wendy’s, which offers fresh beef patties, is able to serve a drive-thru order in an average of 169.1 seconds or 2.8 minutes compared to McDonald’s average time which is 208.2 seconds or 3.5 minutes.
Made on order
According to analysts and restaurant managers the time it takes to prepare a fresh beef Quarter Pounder is one minute longer than the regular sandwich made from frozen beef. This is because the grilling of the beef starts after an order has been made. With the frozen beef Quarter Pounder, preparing it takes place ahead of time. The time spent by customers waiting for their sandwiches is critical for McDonald’s especially since drive-thru orders account for approximately 70% of the total sales.
The introduction of the fresh beef Quarter Pounder comes at a time when McDonald’s chief executive officer, Steve Easterbrook, is engaged in efforts to revamp the restaurant chain that is now six decades old and turn it around after recording declines in traffic for four years in a row. McDonald’s is also firing back at fresh-burger chains such as In-N-Out, Whataburger and Wendy’s which are responsible for the 500 million transactions McDonalds has missed since 2012.
Analysts are of the view that the fresh beef Quarter Pounder and efforts to drop artificial ingredients in chicken nuggets for instance to result in increased sales. In the states of Texas and Oklahoma where the fresh beef experiment has been going on for close to two years, some franchisees have disclosed that sales of the Quarter Pounder have increased.
“We’ve been stealing customers from a Whataburger down the street,” revealed Edgar Meza, a McDonald’s restaurant manager in a North Dallas neighborhood.