McDonald’s Is Quietly Copying Chipotle’s Strategy

McDonalds In Shanghai

McDonald’s just expanded a test for burgers that are 100% customisable.

The brand hopes the strategy, which is currently in four restaurants in San Diego, California, could help attract a younger crowd and revive lagging sales.

Many analysts believe that the customisation will soon become widespread at McDonald’s and allow it to better compete with fast-casual competitors like Chipotle.

Chipotle is largely successful because the ingredients for its burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads are entirely selected by customers, who increasingly crave tailored options and high-quality ingredients.

Dominique Zamora at Foodbeast tried out the process, which also has elements of fast-casual brands like Panera Bread and Five Guys, for herself.

A big screen advertises the tablets in restaurants.

Mcdonald's build your own burger

The tablet then prompts you to choose whether you want one or two beef patties. The company emphasises the “100% pure beef,” an effort to market to people who believe that McDonald’s food is full of additives.

The emphasis on built-from-scratch food made from high-quality ingredients is directly out of Chipotle’s playbook.

Mcdonald's build your own burger

The machine then prompts you to select a bun, cheese and toppings.

Once you are guided through the topping options, which include bacon, guacamole, jalapenos, and crushed tortilla chips, a worker gives you a buzzer reminiscent of those used at Panera Bread.

Mcdonald's build your own burger

The burger packaging has a modern look that is a departure from McDonald’s normally heavy logos.

Mcdonald's build your own burger

The finished product looks more like a Shake Shack or Smashburger sandwich than McDonald’s.

Mcdonald's build your own burger

Chipotle posted a 9.3% sales gain in 2013. Meanwhile, former parent company McDonald’s saw sales fall by 1.4%.