What to know about McDonald’s new changes to classic menu items


(NEW YORK) — McDonald’s burgers have been an American classic since 1955, but the iconic fast food chain has some changes planned to improve its buns, cheese and even how to cook its quintessential burgers.

McDonald’s first announced in April that its signature Big Mac, McDouble, cheeseburger and hamburger would be made with softer buns, caramelized patties cooked with white onions on the grill, cheese slices that melt more and even an extra special sauce.

Chris Young, senior director of global menu strategy, told The Wall Street Journal in late November that McDonald’s current menu is “quick, fast and safe, but it doesn’t necessarily taste great. So, we want to incorporate quality into where we’re at.”

As The Wall Street Journal first reported, there will be more than 50 tweaks to improve the new burgers that have been tested at the company’s Chicago headquarters.

Chef Chad Schafer revealed that the new burger is cooked with onions on top of the beef patty, before a layer of room-temperature cheese is added for faster melting, and all held together with a softer, glossy brioche-style sesame seed bun.

In addition to the new buns with a thicker base to help preserve heat, McDonald’s will use dehydrated onions that rehydrate as they cook on the burgers. Lettuce and pickles will be stored in smaller containers so that restaurant crews will be required to replenish the supply more often from the cooler.

According to the Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s also discovered that cooking six burgers at once, instead of eight as they do now, “improved consistency and delivered fresher patties.”

For fans of the special sauce on a Big Mac, McDonald’s said it plans to increase the condiment usage to half an ounce, so that it can drip out onto the wrapper.

McDonald’s claims the improvements are so good even the Hamburgler is coming out of retirement to steal a bite.

The updated menu items have already been rolling out in restaurants along the West Coast, according to McDonald’s, and a few lucky ABC staffers and their families stopped by the Golden Arches in Los Angeles for a taste test.

Staffers agreed the food was indeed “very saucy” and “very cheesy” and one staffer’s young daughter added, “Yeah, very good!”

The McDonald’s changes are coming at a time when the burger business is heating up and McDonald’s continues to hang on to its market shares amid competition from other popular chains like Shake Shack, In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys.

Business experts like strategist Kathleen Griffith said these tweaks may help McDonald’s keep up with its rivals.

“Being that burger that people know, pulling out the original mascots, that sort of strategy is never going to get you into trouble when you work on driving a consistent customer experience. It’s a good recipe,” Griffith said.

The rolling launch is anticipated to be completed by 2024 and while McDonald’s is not planning to increase prices for these burgers, prices can vary by individual franchises.

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