NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's is adding three new Quarter Pounders to its menu as the fast-food chain looks to offer cheaper premium burgers while capitalizing on one of its most popular brands.
The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., says the new burgers will replace its meatier Angus Third Pounders, which were among the most expensive items on its menu at around $4 to $5. The Quarter Pounders will come in two of the same varieties as the Angus burgers — Bacon and Cheese and Deluxe. The third option will be Habanero Ranch.
McDonald's Corp., which has about 14,000 U.S. locations, says the new burgers will roll out nationally in mid-June. The new Quarter Pounder line will use a bun that has eight grams of whole grains, while the original Quarter Pounder will stay with its regular bun.
The swap for burgers with less meat comes as restaurant chains across the industry face rising beef prices. The higher costs are particularly problematic for fast-food chains, which are known for their cheap eats and limited in how much they can hike prices without scaring away customers.
McDonald's has also been going to greater lengths to emphasize the affordability of its food in a push to turn around slumping sales. That has forced Burger King and Wendy's to adjust their marketing and focus more heavily on deals as well.
Analysts worry that the escalating value wars will lead to shrinking profit margins. But McDonald's executives say the strategy is necessary to steal away customers at a time when the restaurant industry is barely growing.
Greg Watson, senior vice president of the menu innovation team at McDonald's USA, said the company started looking at revamping its burger portfolio about a year ago and realized that it hadn't done much to tinker with the Quarter Pounder, which was introduced in 1971 and remains one of the chain's best sellers.