McDonald’s to go upmarket with sirloin burger trial in the US as it tackles quality perception

In a bid to reverse flagging global sales and to compete with premium chains such as Shake Shack and Byron, McDonald’s is trialling a new range of sirloin burgers in the US market.

The 'Third Pounder' burgers will be bigger than McDonald's iconic Quarter Pounder with Cheese
The ‘Third Pounder’ burgers will be bigger than McDonald’s iconic Quarter Pounder with Cheese

The launch of the Sirloin products comes at a difficult period for the fast food brand. Last month, it admitted it needed to take ‘urgent action in order to evolve’ after unveiling a 1.7% slide in worldwide sales for February – the ninth month in a row that sales have fallen and way below a projected 0.3% fall.

The McDonald’s premium burger line up, which looks to be the latest way for the chain to alter falling quality perception, includes The Steakhouse Third Pounder (sautéed mushrooms, white cheddar, grilled onions and peppercorn sauce) and The Bacon and Cheese Sirloin Third Point.

The range is expected to be expanded into Europe if successful, with rivals such as KFC recently attempting to tap into the upmarket street food trend with the launch of pulled chicken.

A UK launch of the sirloin burgers would be timely for McDonalds. Although its score has improved by 0.8 percentage points over the last six months, McDonald’s remains bottom of the UK’s 36 biggest fast food brands when it comes to quality perception, according to YouGov’s Brand Index.

Its score of -26.1 some way off the list’s top two brands Pizza Express and Pret, with respective scores of 30.2 and 24.5.

Despite continued pressure around the advertising of unhealthy food items, the sirloin burgers would also be the biggest beef patties on the chain’s menu.

“We are taking action to turn McDonald’s into a modern, progressive burger company,” said CEO Steve Easterbrook in a recent call to investors, with McDonald’s also set to expand its Create Your Taste option, which allows consumers to build their own burgers via touch screen.

McDonald’s UK business is currently looking for a new CEO, with Jill McDonald set to depart to become the new chief executive of bicycle brand Halfords.

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