McDonald's Is Quietly Copying Chipotle's Strategy

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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