In recent years, McDonald’s has sort of neglected its hamburgers. Most of its innovation has focused on chicken, an area where the company tried several different ideas before it settled on the McCrispy, which the chain now sees as a core part of its menu.
Since the covid pandemic, and perhaps a little bit before it, McDonald’s (MCD) – Get Free Report has generally focused more on operations than food. New menu items have been very limited as the fast food giant has leaned on bringing back limited-time-offer sauces and celebrity meals as promotions rather than new food.
In April, however, McDonald’s brought a new take on its classic burger to the United States after testing the changes around the world. It wasn’t a full reboot or a New Coke situation. Instead, the changes were McDonald’s making subtle moves to make its burgers better.
The changes included using a softer bun, melting the cheese more fully, and adding onions to the patties while they are cooking. The company also added more Big Mac sauce to its iconic signature sandwich.
Now, McDonald’s has a new take on the Big Mac that doubles down on the more is better approach.
The Big Mac is McDonald’s best-known burger.
Image source: Cate Gillon/Getty Images
McDonald’s goes big
While Burger King has regularly leveraged its Whopper sandwich to launch new products, McDonald’s has been protective of the Big Mac. It did offer a Chicken Mac for a limited time in 2023, and it has sold a single patty Mac Jr, on occasion.
The chain has also offered a Grand Mac, which came with bigger burger patties. Its latest offering, however, the Double Big Mac goes even bigger.
“The Double Big Mac is double the fun with four 100% all-beef patties and more Big Mac sauce, of course. It’s topped with pickles, crisp shredded lettuce, finely chopped onions, and a slice of American cheese, all sandwiched between a fluffy sesame seed bun,” the chain shared on its corporate website.
The new offering will be offered nationwide for a limited time beginning Jan. 24.
McDonald’s has not shared pricing or nutritional information for the Double Big Mac. A regular Big Mac is 590 calories and prices can vary heavily by market.
The Big Mac has big potential
McDonald’s had a hit promotion in 2023 when it released Big Mac Sauce in a Chicken McNugget-style sauce container. In a broad sense, however, the company has not celebrated its most iconic sandwich in the same way Restaurant Brands International’s (QSR) – Get Free Report Burger King has celebrated the Whopper.
In fact, while the Whopper is usually a key topic in Restaurant Brands International earnings calls, McDonald’s has not mentioned the Big Mac in its last two calls with analysts. That could be because while Burger King arguably only has the Whopper as a big-name product customers know, McDonald’s has a menu full of iconic items.
During his chain’s third-quarter earnings call McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski spoke more broadly about the power of the chain’s menu.
“Celebrating our core equities, ‘As Featured In’ demonstrates that McDonald’s and our iconic menu is a cultural touchstone that immediately connects fans to characters and stories with over 85% positive consumer sentiment and in the top 30% of campaigns for customer engagement,” he said.
“As Featured In” is a promotion that calls out when the chain’s food appears in movies or on television shows.
The CEO also addressed the new burgers and their reception around the world.
“Australia was our first market to launch Best Burger and with resounding success. Great-tasting burger perceptions continue to grow, and the Macca’s team has reached an all-time high in beef burger share. And now Best Burger has been scaled to over 70 markets around the world, building on learnings from the original launch in Australia,” he added.