McDonald’s Classic Gets a Serious Upgrade

By: Savvy Dime Staff | Published: Jul 01, 2024

McDonald’s has recently revisited one of its classic menu items, hoping some small adjustments will have a big impact. 

The changes include softer buns, more Big Mac Sauce and caramelized onions. The aim? To enhance the overall burger experience without drastically altering this flagship product.

Pitching for a Premium Feel

McDonald’s has struggled to break into the premium burger market in recent years. These latest efforts might just change that.

Generic premium looking burger on serving platter.

Source: Pexels

Consumers are increasingly demanding quality, and McDonald’s is now positioning itself to offer a more filling and high-end burger option.


The Big Mac: Not So Big?

The Big Mac, while iconic, isn’t considered a premium burger. Its patties are only 1.6 ounces each.

Big Mac meal on table inside a McDonald’s restaurant.

Source: Gabriel Li/Flickr

Even with the recent improvements, it still lags behind competitors’ larger offerings. McDonald’s has experimented with bigger versions in the recent past, like the Double Big Mac, but these haven’t become long term fixtures.

Consumer Value in Focus

With the rise in value-conscious consumers, McDonald’s sees an opportunity.

People walking on a busy shopping street in London, United Kingdom.

Source: GRI_LSE/X

CEO Chris Kempczinski noted the shift during a recent earnings call, highlighting the importance of reliable everyday value amidst economic pressures. This market shift may just pave the way for a change in direction for the fast food giant.

Testing the Waters

CFO Ian Borden announced that McDonald’s is testing a larger, more filling burger in select markets.

Map showing McDonald’s expansion over recent decades.

Source: Mctoto/Wikipedia Commons

The new product is intended to have a global appeal. The company hopes this move has the potential to spearhead a transition into the premium burger market.

Enhanced Bun Quality

So, what about the specific changes being made? Are they significant enough to draw consumers in? The first changes were made to the buns.

Fresh burger buns on wooden chopping board

Source: Pexels

Well, the new buns are said to be “softer, pillowy” and “freshly toasted to a golden brown,” according to the company.


More Big Mac Sauce

The second change from McDonald’s is a more generous helping of their iconic Big Mac sauce. 

Close up of McDonald’s Big Mac burger

Source: Pete/Flickr

The recipe of the sauce has not changed. Instead, the aim is to deliver that tangy, creamy flavor that fans love in every single bite.


Caramelized Onions

The finally change has to do with onions. There’s a shift in how the onions are to be cooked too.

Close up of sliced white onions

Source: Pexels

They will be added to McDonald’s burger patties while they cook on the grill, creating a caramelized flavor. The intention is to improve the flavor profile by adding depth and richness.


Consumer Opinion

One thing is for sure — early feedback from test markets will be crucial in determining the success of McDonald’s new burger.

Customers sitting in the window of McDonald's, Leicester Square.

Source: Garry Knight/Flickr

Positive responses could lead to widespread adoption, while negative feedback could mean the senior team needs to go back to the drawing board.


Future of McDonald's Burgers

McDonald’s is showing a willingness to pivot in the face of shifting consumer needs. Producing softer buns, adding more sauce, and incorporating caramelized onions are what most consumers love.

McDonald’s golden arches sign at dusk

Source: Pexels

Whether these changes will enable the company to capture a new portion of the market remains to be seen.