The new McDonald’s Quarter Pounder is delicious by almost all accounts. In fact, customers are saying it’s the best fast food burger out there. That might be true, too, if it qualified. But other customers are saying that while the new Quarter Pounder is tasty, it isn’t fast. An article at Reuters talks about multiple vehicles pulled over in the parking lot waiting for their Quarter Pounders after going through the drive-thru in Dallas. The scene offers a mini example of the larger McDonald’s dilemma that’s been brewing for a while: fast food, or good food?
The new Quarter Pounder is made of fresh, not frozen, beef. That difference shouldn’t cause a speed problem, obviously — just the opposite. But the new Quarter Pounder is also made to order, more like McDonald’s rival Five Guys style. (The frozen patties started sizzling in prep before the orders came in.) Without the head start sizzle, customers have to wait a little longer for their fresh Quarter Pounders. So McDonald’s faces an age-old dilemma. The venerable chain wants to deliver what customers say they want: better quality. But they have to do it without losing their core competency: speed. It’s fast food, of course, that is synonymous with the Golden Arches.