McDonald’s Ditches The Fancy Signature Burgers To Focus On Quarterpounders


There’s an old saying that the cobbler should stick to his last. The thought being that – a last is the metal workbench that you shape a shoe upon – experts in something should continue to be what they’re expert in. Not try to go off and do what they’re not very good – or at all good – at. So here with McDonald’s. Sure, there’s a growing appetite for fancy burgers with different toppings and additions. And other people are rather better at it than McDonald’s is. So, what should Maccy D’s do?

One answer is to try and make fancier burgers. The other is to not do so. McDonald’s has tried one path and is not going to the other. No shame in that, try, fail, do summat else:

McDonald’s is streamlining its menu by revamping its Quarter Pounder and abandoning its craft burgers. The company said Wednesday that it will “move away” from its Signature Crafted Recipes line — which includes items like a mushroom and swiss cheese burger and one with bacon, cheddar and fried onions — on its national menu to focus on its Quarter Pounder. McDonald’s said it made the decision based on customer feedback.

Well, it’s not a huge and great surprise that those who like McDonald’s like McDonald’s. The answers from those who are already customers are likely to be different from those who are not but might become.

McDonald’s launched the Signature Crafted Recipes line in an attempt to appeal to millennials in 2017, adding fancy-sounding burgers and chicken sandwiches like Pico Guacamole, Sweet BBQ Bacon and Maple Bacon Dijon to the menu. The artisanal menu has gone through several iterations since then, and most locations now offer just two options: Mushroom & Swiss and Bacon Smokehouse.

All of that is because of Five Guys and the others. More expensive burgers, with better ingredients, a much wider range of toppings and so on. OK, try it out, see what works.

Our customers have said they love our fresh beef*. With our new Quarter Pounder®** Deluxe and Quarter Pounder®** Bacon, we’ve introduced even more ways to enjoy the classic burger toppings they know and love, now on the fresh beef* Quarter Pound patty. Based on their feedback, we’ll move away from the Signature Crafted Recipes line on our national menu. Our fresh new Quarter Pounder®** lineup brings customers more of the craveable, customizable and delicious tastes they love.

Well, yes, altho’ there’s another way to read this:

The burgers and chicken sandwiches featured condiments like maple bacon dijon and pico guacamole, compared to the usual (and cheaper) burger toppings like pickles, onions and ketchup. The change will now allow restaurants to ditch the pricier ingredients.

Sure and Five Guys does well with those different, luxury (the trade word is “craft”) burgers. But did McDonald’s? Apparently not. So, ditching them saves in costs. That they are being ditched almost certainly means that the costs of those Signature burgers were higher than the revenue gained – ie, they lost money.

There’s merit in that cobbler idea. If you’re really good at something – low to mid-market burgers – then why not continue to be just that, good at low to mid-market burgers? Why try to be and do something that you’ve no great talent at? Nor, obviously enough, at something your customer base doesn’t seem to want very much?

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‘… in an attempt to appeal to millennials…’

Because all millennials are clones.