Monday, April 27, 2009

McDonald's launching new burger 1/3lb


While other companies may be struggling and cutting back, the McDonald's Corporation can do no wrong. An influential financial blog called it "bullet-proof."

So after eight years of trying to make its image and menu more health-conscious, it says if Americans are ready for a fatty 1/3 pound Angus burger, it's happy to oblige.

Before I explain the new Angus burger, here's how amazing McDonald's is: It's the number-one chain in the world, it hasn't released a successful new burger since 1973.

Oh, they've tried some duds like the McLean and Arch Deluxe, but basically McDonald's has stayed out of the new-burger game. Meanwhile competitors like Hardee's seem to release a new burger every week.

But Hardee's did hit gold in 2001 with its $6 burger and so McDonald's is jumping on board.
According to Crain's, "The fast-food giant will begin rolling out the long-awaited Angus burger nationally by August ... A company memo indicates McDonald's also plans to feature the new sandwich in its Monopoly promotion in October."

The McDonald's burger will cost $3.99 and the company's franchisees seem gung-ho to offer it. There is one little problem, though: McDonald's uses electric fryers to make its burgers, while the Angus burgers at Hardee's and Burger King are charbroiled. Because McDonald's has asked franchisees to spend so much money on the McCafe roll-out, the company can't ask them to install new flame grills as well.

The electric fryer's failure to give some zing to the expensive Angus meat may be why the burger hasn't sold well in test markets. In Southern California, Angus sales dropped by more than 50 percent since the burger was first released in 2007. McDonald's obviously has a plan to compete with charbroiled tastes but without actually installing charbroilers, I'm not sure how it's going to accomplish this goal.

Success or failure, Big Mac or McLean Deluxe, I'm looking forward to trying the already-nicknamed "third-pounder."

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