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McDonald's 1/3 lb. Angus Burger

McDonald's 1/3 lb. Angus Burger
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  • McDonald's 1/3 lb. Angus Burger

    Post #1 - June 20th, 2009, 9:42 pm
    Post #1 - June 20th, 2009, 9:42 pm Post #1 - June 20th, 2009, 9:42 pm
    Chicago Tribune article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ ... 6254.story promotes the upcoming McDonald's 1/3 lb. Angus Burger that's being test marketed on the West Coast, with a national introduction in the late summer or early fall. The West Coast is not the only place for this burger's introduction. I took my kids out for a quick lunch (McD's their choice) and discovered the Angus Burger on the menu at the Charles St. & 22nd St. location in Rockford. This is a McD owned store I believe and across the street from the demolished 1st Rockford McD's restaurant location.

    Since I just read the story, I had to see how McDonald's attempts to compete against the growing Midwest hamburger threat of Five Guy's, Meat Heads, and Sonic. For $3.99, there are three choices of the Angus burgers - The Deluxe, the Bacon Cheese, and the Mushroom Swiss. I did not have my camera with me, so no photos this time. I chose the Bacon Cheese Angus and an Ice Tea. The paper box is larger that the other McDonald's packaging and the Angus is half wrapped like an In-and-Out burger (Trying to meet West Coast expectations?). The overall size of the burger and bun is just smaller than a whopper. The bun is very similar to Meat Head's density and flavor. The burger is dressed with ketchup, mustard, red onion, pickles, two slices of American cheese, and a good amount of crispy flavorful bacon. The Angus burger is about the same thickness as a Quarter Pounder just a wider patty. The Angus burger is a well done, dryer burger with a leaner fat content than the Quarter Pounder. It has a stronger pepper taste to it as well. On the Tribune comments section, the Angus is compared to a meatloaf sandwich, but I did not find it to be the case. Overall, the Angus is probably one of McDonald's better attempts in creating a new burger option. I do feel they have a way to go before they are competitive with Five Guy's or Meat Head's burgers. I think the key difference is McDonald's burgers are prepped and wait in the steamer bins before serving versus the just-in-time prep and service at Five Guy's & Meat Head's.

    I don't know if the Angus is being test marketed just in the Rockford area of Illinois or if it is found in other areas of the state as well. There was a McDonald's across the street from Larkin High School in Elgin that would have five or six different menu items being tested at once like Jr. Big Macs, so the Angus might be tested at scattered corporate owned McDonald's.
  • Post #2 - June 20th, 2009, 10:17 pm
    Post #2 - June 20th, 2009, 10:17 pm Post #2 - June 20th, 2009, 10:17 pm
    Hi,

    Interesting, a few months ago I read McDonald's was deferring the launch on this product for two reasons: 1) Avoid taxing the restaurants when issues integrating the new coffee program were not all settled, 2) Wait for the economy to settle before adding a more expensive product.

    I ate at Burger King at the Ohio-Indiana border yesterday. I had their steak sandwich. I did ask if it was really steak, I was informed it was 100% Angus. Whatever Angus it may have been, it was a ground up somewhere. I will assume it was lean Angus, which makes for a very dry hamburger. It came with bacon, which did crunch but added very little flavor. I wished I had stuck to the reliable Whopper.

    My other bad Angus Burger of the week was courtesy of the Red Cross National Headquarter's cafeteria earlier in the week. I checked all the offerings of salad bar, soups and prepared meals. I opted for the burger, because it would be freshly made. I ordered my burger, then waited for it to hit the grill to describe how I wanted to cooked. My thinking if it was a thin burger, then I'd just let it be. If it was thick, then I'd try to tease a medium-rare out of the cook. No chance to consider when I saw him plop a precooked burger on the grill to warm.

    I think Angus has some cache, but as a lean ground meat it beginning to be a signal for an unsatisfactory burger. Of course, I will try the McDonald's Angus burger whenever a situation presents itself. It certainly sounds like you were more satisfied by your encounter there, than I was.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - June 21st, 2009, 4:28 am
    Post #3 - June 21st, 2009, 4:28 am Post #3 - June 21st, 2009, 4:28 am
    I gotta ask - you ate at Burger King? :shock:
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #4 - June 21st, 2009, 6:40 am
    Post #4 - June 21st, 2009, 6:40 am Post #4 - June 21st, 2009, 6:40 am
    Perhaps more meat IS in order... As per the moving crew request, went out to pickup McDonald's for lunch; Hadn't eaten there for over at least 4 years. Had fond memories of the Big Mac as well as Filet-O-Fish. The crew ordered more updated fare which I wasn't familiar with (and turned out to be "better" food) - chicken selects, grilled chicken, crispy chicken classic.

    The Big Mac was horribly anemic and highly unsatisfying - All I recall tasting is sauce and bread this time around. The filet-o-fish (the spouse managed half of the sandwich) was... OK... Soggy limp fries were the final straw that broke the camel's back.

    The best two Big Macs I ever had was driving through Texas, stopping at a roadside McDonald's (which was prob the best restaurant in town) and having a fresh-made Big Mac - they actually took pride in making their fare; It LOOKED like the burgers on the advertisements. The second was when the wife and I had just got into NY for the first time, starving off the bus and had a "fresh-made", highly expensive, yet highly satisfying Big Mac meal.

    I'm not certain I can ever return to a Mc'D's except for a soft-serve ice cream cone once in a while.

    P.S. - I also have fond memories of $1 BK whoppers during college... great times... Actually, Big Macs would alternate at $1 each too; Now they're $3.09!?!??! Grad school entertained times of the $1 jumbo jack... ah... will never return to those times... (cause hopefully I have better taste now).
  • Post #5 - June 21st, 2009, 7:29 am
    Post #5 - June 21st, 2009, 7:29 am Post #5 - June 21st, 2009, 7:29 am
    Dave148 wrote:I gotta ask - you ate at Burger King? :shock:

    Sure. Why not? Everyday, no. On the Ohio-Indiana border with three hours drive ahead, yes I went without any reservations. My companion had the "Angry Whopper" a triple meat patty with pepper jack cheese, a gardinera type pickled vegetable and fresh jalapenos. Actually, they were out of jalapenos. It wasn't quite hot enough for him, though probably plenty for me.

    I also proudly go to McDonalds.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - June 21st, 2009, 7:35 am
    Post #6 - June 21st, 2009, 7:35 am Post #6 - June 21st, 2009, 7:35 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    Dave148 wrote:I gotta ask - you ate at Burger King? :shock:

    yes I went without any reservations.


    You can get into Burger King without reservations? I wish I'd known :wink:
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #7 - June 21st, 2009, 8:58 am
    Post #7 - June 21st, 2009, 8:58 am Post #7 - June 21st, 2009, 8:58 am
    Kennyz wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote:
    Dave148 wrote:I gotta ask - you ate at Burger King? :shock:

    yes I went without any reservations.


    You can get into Burger King without reservations? I wish I'd known :wink:


    Maybe they're on Open Table :?:
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #8 - June 21st, 2009, 10:02 am
    Post #8 - June 21st, 2009, 10:02 am Post #8 - June 21st, 2009, 10:02 am
    Is there any McDonald's in the Chicago area that is used for test market items? It would be interesting to try new items that are being test marketed.
  • Post #9 - June 21st, 2009, 10:59 am
    Post #9 - June 21st, 2009, 10:59 am Post #9 - June 21st, 2009, 10:59 am
    Amtrak includes an angusburger on the menu in some of its dining cars, and I ordered/ate one while riding the Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle over the most recent Memorial Day weekend. Maybe the meat would have tasted better had it been prepared over a charcol grill, but I wasn't impressed with what I was served. I've purchased Angus ground beef at the supermarked to make a burger and/or meat balls and have found it to be too dry, also.

    As for the seemingly critical comment about eating something from Burger King: What's wrong with eating at Burger King? Though I don't stop at one of the restaurants often (maybe once every other month) - mostly because there is none conveniently located near where I live or work - I do particularly enjoy the Whopper with Cheese sandwich.
  • Post #10 - June 21st, 2009, 11:22 am
    Post #10 - June 21st, 2009, 11:22 am Post #10 - June 21st, 2009, 11:22 am
    Cathy2 wrote: I also proudly go to McDonalds.



    Ok I gotta ask, what about going to Mcdonalds makes you proud :?: , because although I to have partaken from the mass produced corporate trough, I never felt a sense of pride for having done so :)
  • Post #11 - June 21st, 2009, 11:44 am
    Post #11 - June 21st, 2009, 11:44 am Post #11 - June 21st, 2009, 11:44 am
    JP1121 wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote: I also proudly go to McDonalds.


    Ok I gotta ask, what about going to Mcdonalds makes you proud :?: , because although I to have partaken from the mass produced corporate trough, I never felt a sense of pride for having done so :)


    Ok, this may not be what Cathy2's going to answer, but on Fridays during Lent I like being able to get an inexpensive fish sandwich that I enjoy

    Also, having had my first job and my first exposure to a work ethic at McDonald's, I sometimes wish every teenager had to do a few summers there before they entered the adult working world.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #12 - June 21st, 2009, 11:57 am
    Post #12 - June 21st, 2009, 11:57 am Post #12 - June 21st, 2009, 11:57 am
    JP1121 wrote:
    Cathy2 wrote: I also proudly go to McDonalds.



    Ok I gotta ask, what about going to Mcdonalds makes you proud :?: , because although I to have partaken from the mass produced corporate trough, I never felt a sense of pride for having done so :)

    I am not going to be boxed into where I go and won't go. I like to try everything. I don't want to be defined that something is off limits. I can decided on my own on a case-by-case basis.

    At McDonald's, I do like the Big Mac (better fresh), Filet-O-Fish, Egg McMuffin and Steak and Egg Bagel.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #13 - June 21st, 2009, 12:18 pm
    Post #13 - June 21st, 2009, 12:18 pm Post #13 - June 21st, 2009, 12:18 pm
    Thanks for responding Katie and Cathy, I appreciate your points of view. I think what people love about Mcdonalds and such is that you know exactly what you are going to get and how long it is going to take to get it, and that is no small thing for sure.

    Anyway I posted cause just last week I had a hankering for a fish fillet and fries, first time in years. One just makes me hungry so I bought two and made them into one sandwich, proud of myself for having saved on the bread calories :roll:.

    But honestly, afterward I experienced nothing but a sense of regret for having eaten it, because the sandwich and fries I used to love now tasted like cardboard, (not sure if my taste has changed or the sandwich but I suspect a combination of the two), and the eight bucks or so I spent on the meal deal and the extra sandwich could have helped out a little independent hot dog stand or the like survive in these tough times, and I know I would have gotten better fresher food.

    Just my opinion, I understand your points as well.
  • Post #14 - June 21st, 2009, 12:34 pm
    Post #14 - June 21st, 2009, 12:34 pm Post #14 - June 21st, 2009, 12:34 pm
    I appreciate your reply, JP.

    Cathy2 and I might seem like twins sometimes, but I'm the Clark Kent to her Superman. She eats some of the scariest things I've ever seen.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #15 - June 21st, 2009, 3:44 pm
    Post #15 - June 21st, 2009, 3:44 pm Post #15 - June 21st, 2009, 3:44 pm
    the eight bucks or so I spent on the meal deal and the extra sandwich could have helped out a little independent hot dog stand


    There are a lot of McDonald's franchise owners who view themselves as independents.
  • Post #16 - June 21st, 2009, 7:12 pm
    Post #16 - June 21st, 2009, 7:12 pm Post #16 - June 21st, 2009, 7:12 pm
    auxen1 wrote:
    There are a lot of McDonald's franchise owners who view themselves as independents.



    They may be independent in the sense that they are their own bosses and they do run their own franchise, but considering the fact that they pay rent and franchise fees to the corporation and have no say in product, menu, food preparation, or advertising, it is kind of a stretch to call them independent restaurateurs.
  • Post #17 - June 21st, 2009, 9:50 pm
    Post #17 - June 21st, 2009, 9:50 pm Post #17 - June 21st, 2009, 9:50 pm
    have no say in product, menu, food preparation, or advertising, it is kind of a stretch to call them independent restaurateurs.


    It would make Oak Brook far happier if this were only true.
  • Post #18 - June 22nd, 2009, 10:07 am
    Post #18 - June 22nd, 2009, 10:07 am Post #18 - June 22nd, 2009, 10:07 am
    I've had the Angus Burger. I didn't like it. It had a different taste to it. I'd rather have a quarter pounder. Maybe it was the location I was at. Who knows.
  • Post #19 - June 22nd, 2009, 10:45 am
    Post #19 - June 22nd, 2009, 10:45 am Post #19 - June 22nd, 2009, 10:45 am
    Auxen 1, what does your remark upthread (2 posts) mean? Curious.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #20 - June 22nd, 2009, 11:03 am
    Post #20 - June 22nd, 2009, 11:03 am Post #20 - June 22nd, 2009, 11:03 am
    McD's franchisees have tremendous power when they choose to coalesce around an issue and when they uniformily agree that something has to change, it does.

    While McD's generates ad campaigns, for example, franchisees have a say in how those campaigns are funded. At times, regions have gone off the grid and created their own ads. It's a big message to the advtg. dept. to get back on game.

    While McD's manages the menu, franchisees have created their own products. The egg mcmuffin is perhaps the most noteworthy example.

    McDonald's corporate continually lobbies the franchisees on key business issues to build consensus for what they want to implement. Corporate will not be successful advancing a minority position.

    While they have invested their personal funds in a corporate brand, McD's franchisees are as independent as the restaurant owners I've met. Maybe not nearly as committed to creating really great food, but independent nonetheless.
  • Post #21 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:20 pm
    Post #21 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:20 pm Post #21 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:20 pm
    At times, regions have gone off the grid and created their own ads. It's a big message to the advtg. dept. to get back on game.


    I was mesmerized by the filet-o-fish commercial from earlier this year. You know. "Give me back that filet-o-fish, give me that fish...."

    That wasn't created at Oak Brook, as I understand it, but some local franchisees ran it here.
  • Post #22 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:48 pm
    Post #22 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:48 pm Post #22 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:48 pm
    It's pretty interesting to me. Corporate spends all this money to develop programming, promotions and creative and then local groups say, no.

    Choosing to spend against the filet o fish versus whatever movie or game they were promoting has to really frost corporate marketing and is sure to cause some jobs to be shaken up.

    One of my favorites was when McD's was doing a healthy living promotion which included give aways of pedometers (sp?): little devices that you hook to your belt that tell you how may steps you take in a day. (eat whatever you want, but walk enough to burn off what you ate) The corporate ads weren't specific that they were free so some of the franchises were charging customers $1.50 for what others were giving away.

    I think if you asked McD's corporate people off the record, they'd say the franchisees were extremely independent.
  • Post #23 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:52 pm
    Post #23 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:52 pm Post #23 - June 22nd, 2009, 12:52 pm
    auxen1 wrote:in a corporate brand, McD's franchisees are as independent as the restaurant owners I've met. Maybe not nearly as committed to creating really great food, but independent nonetheless.


    Can they mess with the ingredients in the Oakbrook-driven menu items? e.g. If one particular franchisee wanted to switch the big mac patties to, uh, Tallgrass Beef and use locally baked buns from Red Hen (or whatever), is that cool? Can they raise the price if they want? Or do they have to put it on as a separate menu item and leave the big mac untouched?
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #24 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:08 pm
    Post #24 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:08 pm Post #24 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:08 pm
    I think Auxen1 is right about the corporate politics but overstates the case in practice. It is a fact that within the fast food industry, independent McDonald's owner-operators represent an unusually high percentage of total restaurants compared to other chains; many other chains have deliberately kept the proportion of independent franchisees down precisely so that they don't have the rambunctiousness McD's has sometimes had.

    The franchisees have sometimes been a source of ideas, especially the bigger groups (like California's o-o group or MOCNI here in Chicago/Northwest Indiana). The Egg McMuffin was invented by a franchisee; the "Mac Tonite" campaign of two decades ago with the lounge singer moon came out of the California group, fed up with what they saw as lackluster advertising coming from corporate's ad agencies. I'm sure there are many other examples.

    On the other hand, let's get real. These guys bought into McDonald's-- at great expense relative to launching a stand of your own-- because they know what they're getting, a brilliantly refined and optimized system that is a sure moneymaker. Unlike, say, Burger King, which took advantage of government minority lending programs in the 70s to open stores anywhere (and collect a piece of your tax dollar action), not caring if they promptly closed, McD's researches locations carefully, buys land whenever possible, delivers a consistent level of quality (personally I think the relative gap between the best McDonald's and the worst is far smaller than between comparable burger chain outlets), and generally over 40 years has done outstanding marketing whose proof is in the chain's overwhelming success. You can hate them and everything they stand for, but you can't deny they're good at it-- and the o-o's know that too. And while they may rebel at this or that, they may cause migraines in Oakbrook, they're not going to tear it all down. They exercise their independence when they feel corporate isn't serving the strategic goals of a fast food giant as well it could be, not because they suddenly have new goals. Their "independence" is within a very narrow realm, relative to the whole world of food.
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  • Post #25 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:18 pm
    Post #25 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:18 pm Post #25 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:18 pm
    Ed,

    Could an owner of a trademarked product grant permission to others to change that product as they wish and still retain ownership of that trademark? I'm not a lawyer but my guess is no.

    And why would a person (independent or compliant) pay a gazillion dollars for a burger franchise to then change the burgers?

    Perhaps if you're independently minded and have your own ideas about what makes a good hamburger you never go to hamburger U. And, if you're independently minded and don't give a hoot about what you serve in your restaurant but see the biz benefits of owning one of the top performing franchises you do.
  • Post #26 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:25 pm
    Post #26 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:25 pm Post #26 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:25 pm
    Hey, I'm just curious what they're allowed to do, not what they would do in practice. I was curious if the franchise agreement let them mess with the main items.

    What about this: Are they allowed to source their french fries from somewhere besides McDonalds' approved suppliers? Or, if they wanted, use fresh potatoes?
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #27 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:28 pm
    Post #27 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:28 pm Post #27 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:28 pm
    Mike,

    You are absolutely right that what I described is the exception.

    And the ad you described is exactly what I was thinking of....want to say that it was from the late 80's/early 90's. I remember it as being greatly entertaining but i can't remember the tune.
  • Post #28 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Post #28 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:33 pm Post #28 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:33 pm
    Ed,

    I've got to believe that in today's environment there are severe restrictions to sourcing ingredients independently. The large food companies have strict procedures and protocols to protect against tampering (asked by Homeland Security to develop and implement).

    Even if this wasn't the case, the McD's fries would be off limits. It's the only product that competes with its competitors on taste.

    I'd be curious to know more particulars as well.
  • Post #29 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:36 pm
    Post #29 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:36 pm Post #29 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:36 pm
    What about this: Are they allowed to source their french fries from somewhere besides McDonalds' approved suppliers? Or, if they wanted, use fresh potatoes?


    If I recall correctly, it's illegal* for McDonald's to say "you have to buy French fries from X," but it is perfectly legal for them to spec exactly how the French fries have to be. In practice, the o-o's often have a choice of suppliers who meet the McD specs (and corporate too probably benefits from having multiple suppliers competing for corporate approval).

    Of course many products have to be sourced regionally anyway for freshness-- the buns are always baked by a local commercial baker to McD's recipe, for instance.

    * I could be wrong-- I mean, it's not like anybody's serving Pepsi and Hunt's ketchup in a McD's-- but maybe the use of independent distributors satisfies legality there even while offering the single branded product.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #30 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:58 pm
    Post #30 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:58 pm Post #30 - June 22nd, 2009, 1:58 pm
    Mike G wrote:
    What about this: Are they allowed to source their french fries from somewhere besides McDonalds' approved suppliers? Or, if they wanted, use fresh potatoes?


    If I recall correctly, it's illegal* for McDonald's to say "you have to buy French fries from X," but it is perfectly legal for them to spec exactly how the French fries have to be.


    I don't think that doing so would be illegal - isn't that one of the biggest problems that Quiznos franchise owners have had, being forced to buy all of their ingredients from one supplier at overly expensive rates?

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