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McDonald's Puts a New Take on a Classic Sandwich on its Menu

The fast-food chain rarely uses it biggest brands but one of its menus has added something very different branded with a classic name.

McDonald's  (MCD) - Get Free Report is possibly the most old-fashioned of all the big fast-food chains, rarely making major changes to its classic menu.

While the brand does innovate from time to time, it's in a more moderate way than competitors like Yum Brands'  (YUM) - Get Free Report Taco Bell or Restaurant Brands International's  (QSR) - Get Free Report Burger King.

Those chains also have their classics but are more apt to try wilder ideas, like Taco Bell's Cheez-It Crunchwrap experiment and BK's Ghost Pepper Whopper.

That's not to say Mickey D's doesn't embrace modernity in its own way, though. Its new test restaurant concept in Fort Worth, Texas, is smaller than its usual locations and introduces the Order Ahead lane, specifically designed for people who placed their orders using the McDonald's app.

The test location is a part of a new strategy McDonald's announced in 2020 called "Accelerating the Arches," with a focus on "delivery, digital, and drive-thru."

While McDonald's takes notes on that experiment, however, it's also made some new additions to its menu.

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A New Kind of Quarter Pounder

McDonald's has come a long way with its iconic Quarter Pounder, shifting from frozen beef to never-frozen in 2018 in an effort to improve the product and leading to a huge boost in sales

Now that the chain knows what a small change can mean for its bottom line, it's testing another modification to the Quarter Pounder. 

It's introduced a new limited edition version of the burger called the Carolina BBQ Quarter Pounder in the Canadian market, according to Chewboom. Along with the usual toppings, this one also sports hickory-smoked bacon, fried onions, Carolina BBQ sauce, and two slices of cheddar cheese.

Right now, you have to go north of the border to try this new version of the Quarter Pounder, but the very American name and American-friendly flavors suggest that it's a possible contended to be added to U.S. menus if it performs well in Canada.

The chain often uses Canada (and sometimes the United Kingdom) to test products before making a decision about introducing them in its home market.

McDonald's Continues to Perform

CEO Chris Kempczinski commented on McDonald's intentions to continue the rollout of its Accelerating the Arches plan during the company's Q3 earnings call.

"Our third quarter 2022 performance demonstrated broad-based business momentum as global comparable sales increased nearly 10%. I remain confident in our Accelerating the Arches strategy as our teams around the world continue to execute at a high level," he said. "As the macroeconomic landscape continues to evolve and uncertainties persist, we are operating from a position of competitive strength." 

McDonald's has been performing admirably in the midst of inflation and money worries, reporting a 6.1% increase in same-store sales for the U.S. market and continuing a nine-quarter streak of comp sales growth in the U.S.

Kempczinski says McDonald's loyalty program is acting as a "significant driver."