McDonald’s is saying goodbye to frozen beef and hello to fresh beef.
The fast-food chain announced Tuesday that fresh beef quarter-pound burgers will be added to its menus across all locations, except for those in Hawaii and Alaska, beginning in May.
The company said quarter-pound and Signature Crafted Recipe burgers will be cooked right when ordered. The switch will not affect Big Macs, and regular hamburgers and cheeseburgers.
Fresh beef patties will be added to more than 3,500 locations in select markets, including Salt Lake City, according to a press release.
Other markets to receive the patties first include Atlanta; Miami; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida.
The company said it will slowly add the burgers to locations in Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and more cities until all locations have them in May.
“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 statement. “Over the past two years, we have been listening to our customers and evolving our business to build a better McDonald’s. We are proud to bring our customers a hotter and juicier quarter-pound burger at the speed and convenience they expect from us.”
The company’s announcement came after rival Wendy’s criticized McDonald’s frozen patties in an ad campaign, which included a savage commercial during the Super Bowl, according to CNN Money.
McDonald’s has tried to launch the new patties over the last four years. Kempczinski told Reuters that the company feared longer wait times.
“If it slows down the drive-thru, that’s the critical part of our business. And so we just had to spend a lot of time really making sure that as we were cooking only when someone ordered, we’d figured out a way to do it that wasn’t going to slow down service time,” he said.5 comments on this story
But Joe Jasper, who owns 20 McDonald’s restaurants, told CNBC that he was the first to test out the new patty and didn’t see much of an issue.
He said he talked with his employees about how to elevate the company’s food while staying inexpensive.
"I talked to my staff, and I asked them, 'What do you think we should do?'" Jasper said. "They said, 'Well, Joe, we can't let the drive-thru slow down. So that got us to thinking, the only way to make a burger fast is from a fresh steak. So, we started experimenting with fresh beef."
The patties cook 20 to 40 seconds faster, Jasper said.