How McDonald's won back Americans

McDonald’s same-store sales in the US are growing for the first time in two years.

The company on Thursday reported a 0.9% increase in US same-store sales in the most recent quarter, following seven straight quarters of declines.

McDonald’s credited the turnaround in part to its new premium buttermilk crispy sandwich, as well as a switch to butter over margarine in its breakfast sandwiches.

Here’s a roundup of some of the changes McDonald’s has made over the last couple months to win back Americans.

1. McDonald’s revamped the quarter pounder

The chain recently started toasting its buns longer and increased the size of its quarter-pounder patties from 4 ounces when raw to 4.25 ounces. The 4-ounce patties shrink to 2.8 ounces after cooking.

The company also changed how its patties are seared to lock in more flavour.

2. McDonald’s announced plans to start serving breakfast all day next month

The all-day menu will be limited to only a couple breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, and sides.

McDonald’s restaurants will serve either McMuffin or biscuit sandwiches — not both — depending on local preferences, according to the company. Hash browns will also be available at some restaurants.

The chain previously stopped serving breakfast at 10:30 a.m.

3. The company is expanding its customisable-burger menu, called “Create Your Taste,” to thousands of restaurants nationwide

The menu allows people to customise their burgers with premium toppings like guacamole, grilled mushrooms, onions, bacon, and chilli-lime tortilla strips, using touch-screen kiosks.

The chain is also now offering a limited version of “Create Your Taste” to drive-thru customers called “TasteCrafted,” where people can pick a bun and a premium sauce.

4. McDonald’s vowed to remove all antibiotics vital to fighting human infections from its chicken supply within the next two years

The company also promised to shift to cage-free eggs in the US over the next 10 years.

5. McDonald’s started testing a new ground-chicken burger

The new chicken burger is made from a blend of white and dark ground chicken seasoned with spices like garlic and onion powder. It can be ordered in two varieties: “Classic,” with red onions and ranch sauce; and “tangy,” with grilled onions and a tangy “signature sauce.”

The sandwiches, which are each under 400 calories, also come with lettuce and tomato on a new “gourmet” potato bun.

The sandwich was rolled out in all 202 of McDonald’s Tampa locations.

6. The company launched a new buttermilk crispy-chicken sandwich made with real buttermilk

7. McDonald’s stopped using margarine on its breakfast sandwiches and replaced it with real butter

8. The company reintroduced Premium Chicken Selects, which cost $US2.99 for a three-piece order, compared with $US1.99 for a four-piece Chicken McNugget order

The Premium Chicken Selects are made from whole pieces of chicken tenderloin that are breaded and fried, whereas McNuggets are made from ground chicken meat.

9. McDonald’s vowed to remove a number of hard-to-pronounce ingredients from the grilled chicken used for sandwiches and wraps and rename it “Artisan Grilled Chicken”

10. McDonald’s started testing kale as an ingredient in breakfast bowls at nine Southern California locations.

Kale is also being used in three salads at McDonald’s in Canada, according to Janney Capital Markets.

The addition of kale to McDonald’s menu came as a surprise, considering the chain’s anti-kale sentiment in an ad that the company released earlier this year.

The ad shows close-up shots of a Big Mac and pokes fun at foodies and vegetarians.

“You can’t get juiciness like this from soy or quinoa,” the ad’s narrator chides. “Nor will this ever be kale,” he adds as the camera zooms in on the lettuce in a Big Mac sandwich.

11. McDonald’s tested a premium sirloin burger, but decided to phase it out when it didn’t meet sales expectations

The limited-time item was introduced in May.

The burgers, made with 100% sirloin, featured the biggest meat patties on McDonald’s menu. They were served on wooden boards meant to signify their premium quality, along with fancy toppings like grilled mushrooms, white cheddar cheese, and peppercorn sauce.

The changes have clearly had a positive effect on sales, but some franchisees are still unhappy with management.

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