As fast food chains race to add plant-based products to their menus, McDonald’s Canada is introducing small changes to its classic beef lineup that it says will make its burgers juicier and tastier.
The changes are relatively minor and subtle tweaks – including things such as adding more sauce to Big Macs and cooking patties in smaller batches – but they will be noticeable improvements that will make the burgers “hotter, juicier and tastier,” says McDonald’s Canada’s director of menu innovation and management Nicola Pitman.
“It’s going to be one of those things where customers will know there has been a change, but they might not be able to put their fingers on the change exactly,” Pitman said in an interview.
“We don’t want to take a classic iconic sandwich and change it completely. We want to keep those iconic elements, and just enhance them.”
Starting Tuesday, McDonald’s will be cooking its Big Mac, Quarter Pounder and cheeseburgers in smaller batches. They will also be adding onions directly to the patties on the grill to intensify the flavour of the burgers.
“The beef is definitely juicier. I tend to find now that you need a napkin or two to eat the products versus before,” Pitman said. “It really retains the juices because of the way we changed some of the cooking methods.”
McDonald’s has also changed up how it stores burger toppings, which it says will ensure produce is fresher and crisper. Big Mac lovers can also expect more sauce on their burgers the next time they order one.
Finally, the buns holding the burgers are also going to be slightly different. McDonald’s has come up with a new recipe for its buns, which Pitman says are softer and better retains heat.
“It has a lovely glaze to it and it gives it a much more golden brown colour,” she said. “And it definitely feels warmer to the touch.”
The changes – which are being rolled out at locations across the country – are a result of a two-year process aimed at improving the fast food chain’s lineup of burgers.
They are also being introduced at a time when other quick service restaurants are launching plant-based burgers. A&W launched its Beyond Meat burger last summer to much fanfare, and Burger King rolled out an Impossible Foods burger at locations in the U.S. in April. Tim Hortons also recently jumped on the plant-based bandwagon, rolling out Beyond Meat breakfast sandwiches in June and, as of last month, two additional Beyond Meat burgers.
While Pitman would not comment on whether plant-based products were on the horizon for McDonald’s menu, she said the chain is “always looking at different menu changes.”
“But our focus is really on our core beef burgers at this moment,” she said.