McDonald has made the change to appeal to consumers' growing interest in ingredient transparency. Buyers today want to know where the food comes from, Marion Gross, the company's leading supply chain officer for North America, told CNN Business.
McDonald's sale of the fresh quarter-pound burger was particularly strong in May 201
Going from frozen to fresh steak was a challenge.
"It was a big change that was needed" to make the shift, Gross said. Suppliers needed new packaging equipment and several refrigerators, among other things to ensure that the fresh steak was handled safely, she said. Distribution trucks needed the right temperature monitoring systems to properly transport the steak. And in McDonald's kitchen, employees had to implement new food safety practices.
Overall, the shift was one of the "biggest, boldest movements we have made for a long time," Gross said. It is the largest supply chain change company has made since it began serving breakfast all day in 2015, she noted.
It has also charged the company's franchisees, who had to pay for some of the changes, like different refrigeration and storage systems.
Gross noted that the shift was "not easy", but that franchisees eventually came on board because fresh beef burgers are only better. "The franchisees became very believers," she said.
McDonald's shared news about the improved fresh beef sales, as it raises questions about whether it will introduce a plant-based protein burger to its American menu.