McDonald’s same-store sales in the US are growing for the first time in two years.
The company on Thursday reported a 0.9% increase in US same-store sales in the most recent quarter, following seven straight quarters of declines.
McDonald’s credited the turnaround in part to its new premium buttermilk crispy sandwich, as well as a switch to butter over margarine in its breakfast sandwiches.
Here’s a roundup of some of the changes McDonald’s has made over the last couple months to win back Americans.
1. McDonald’s revamped the quarter pounder
The chain recently started toasting its buns longer and increased the size of its quarter-pounder patties from 4 ounces when raw to 4.25 ounces. The 4-ounce patties shrink to 2.8 ounces after cooking.
The company alsochanged how its patties are seared to lock in more flavor.
- Flickr/Adam Kuban
2. McDonald’s announced plans to start serving breakfast all day
The all-day menu is limited to only a couple breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, and sides.
McDonald’s restaurants are serving either McMuffin or biscuit sandwiches – not both – depending on local preferences, according to the company. Hash browns are also available at most restaurants.
The chain previously stopped serving breakfast at 10:30 a.m.
3. The company is expanding its customizable-burger menu, called “Create Your Taste,” to thousands of restaurants nationwide
The menu allows people to customize their burgers with premium toppings like guacamole, grilled mushrooms, onions, bacon, and chili-lime tortilla strips, using touch-screen kiosks.
- Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
The chain is also now offering a limited version of “Create Your Taste” to drive-thru customers called “TasteCrafted,” where people can pick a bun and a premium sauce.
4. McDonald’s vowed to remove all antibiotics vital to fighting human infections from its chicken supply within the next two years
The company also promised to shift to cage-free eggs in the US over the next 10 years.
5. McDonald’s started testing a new ground-chicken burger
The new chicken burger is made from a blend of white and dark ground chicken seasoned with spices like garlic and onion powder. It can be ordered in two varieties: “Classic,” with red onions and ranch sauce; and “tangy,” with grilled onions and a tangy “signature sauce.”
The sandwiches, which are each under 400 calories, also come with lettuce and tomato on a new “gourmet” potato bun.
The sandwich was rolled out in all 202 of McDonald’s Tampa locations.
6. The company launched a new buttermilk crispy-chicken sandwich made with real buttermilk
7. McDonald’s stopped using margarine on its breakfast sandwiches and replaced it with real butter
8. The company reintroduced Premium Chicken Selects, which cost $2.99 for a three-piece order, compared with $1.99 for a four-piece Chicken McNugget order
The Premium Chicken Selects aremade from whole pieces of chicken tenderloin that are breaded and fried, whereas McNuggets are made from ground chicken meat.
9. McDonald’s vowed to remove a number of hard-to-pronounce ingredients from the grilled chicken used for sandwiches and wraps and rename it “Artisan Grilled Chicken”
10. McDonald’s started testing kale as an ingredient in breakfast bowls at nine Southern California locations.
Kale is also being used in three salads at McDonald’s in Canada, according to Janney Capital Markets.
The addition of kale to McDonald’s menu came as a surprise, considering the chain’s anti-kale sentiment in an ad that the company released earlier this year.
The ad shows close-up shots of a Big Mac and pokes fun at foodies and vegetarians.
“You can’t get juiciness like this from soy or quinoa,” the ad’s narrator chides. “Nor will this ever be kale,” he adds as the camera zooms in on the lettuce in a Big Mac sandwich.
11. McDonald’s tested a premium sirloin burger, but decided to phase it out when it didn’t meet sales expectations
The limited-time item was introduced in May.
The burgers, made with 100% sirloin, featured the biggest meat patties on McDonald’s menu. They were served on wooden boards meant to signify their premium quality, along with fancy toppings like grilled mushrooms, white cheddar cheese, and peppercorn sauce.
While these changes have had a positive effect on sales, some franchisees say they are expensive and complicating things in their kitchens.
“In small stores, the problems are vast with people falling over each other and equipment jammed in everywhere,” one franchisee wrote of all-day breakfast in response to a recent survey by Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski.
Another franchisee said the all-day breakfast is encouraging customers to trade down to cheaper breakfast items during lunch and dinner.
Franchisees have also complained about the cost of “Create Your Taste” digital kiosks.
The kiosks are expected to cost operators between $120,000 and $160,000to implement.