Industry News | March 20, 2017 | By Danny Klein | QSR Exclusive Brief

McDonald's Expanding Fresh-Not-Frozen Burgers in Texas

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If you’re going to test out a better burger, Texas isn’t a bad place to start.

The key word, it now appears, is start. McDonald’s replaced frozen patties with fresh ones at 14 Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants last spring before expanding the trial to 75 Oklahoma units in November.

Read More About McDonald's Plan for the Future

This included the Quarter Pounder with cheese, the Double Quarter Pounder with cheese, the Bacon Clubhouse Burger, and the Quarter Pounder Deluxe.

The successful pilot now includes all 328 of McDonald’s Dallas-area restaurants. This swap doesn’t refer to smaller patties used on Big Macs and standard hamburgers.

The fresh versus frozen debate touches the center of competitor Wendy’s business model. In February, Wendy’s reported its 16th consecutive quarter of positive same-restaurant sales. Globally, the brand opened nearly 150 new restaurants in 2016 and plans to grow the Wendy’s system by around 1,000 restaurants and $2 billion in sales by 2020.

While it might seem like common sense to do so, McDonald’s switch to fresh patties at more than 14,000 restaurants across the U.S. wouldn’t come without serious concerns. Namely, it would shake up its supply chain dramatically and introduce new food safety issues into the mix. It could also fracture kitchen efficiency and create additional training procedures for franchisees.

The risk and challenge, however, might be necessary. As Crain’s Chicago Business pointed out, McDonald’s claimed it has lost 500 million sales transactions since 2012 at its recent investor conference.