McDonald’s has launched an upscale burger menu in Australia and the result looks nothing like the Big Mac.
The menu includes two types of buns, four kinds of cheese, and 19 specialty toppings, such as grilled pineapple, guacamole and beetroot.
Customers order and pay for their food using a touch-screen kiosk:
Then their food is delivered to them on a block of wood, which is a big upgrade from McDonald’s traditional plastic trays.
The burgers are held together with a giant toothpick and the french fries are served in metal frying baskets.
The new menu is considerably more expensive than a Big Mac, which costs about $5.50 in Australia, according to The Economist’s Big Max index. By comparison, two of the featured specialty burgers cost $8.90 and the customised burger featured in this post cost $15.90.
The new program is a response to fast-casual “better burger” chains in the US like Shake Shack and Five Guys. McDonald’s has also been testing customisable burgers in California.
If successful, the menu could help offset losses from McDonald’s Dollar Menu promotions.
The new menu is available at only one location so far in Castle Hill, but if it’s successful, the company is planning to roll it out nationally.
Industry experts predict that the test will be successful and expand to the US, as well.
“No matter what the test results show, [McDonald’s] Australia is taking Build-A-Burger nationwide,” says Richard Adams, a former McDonald’s franchise owner and president of the consulting firm Franchise Equity Group.
“USA operators should just order the equipment now, this isn’t a test, it’s a reinvention.”
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