McDonald’s Says Customers Crave Bigger Burgers, Not Premium Ones

Estimated read time 2 min read
  • McDonald’s customers want bigger burgers instead of luxury ones, CFO Ian Borden said.
  • McDonald’s spent years trialing premium burgers. “We weren’t successful,” he said.
  • The chain is now piloting a “couple” of larger burgers and hopes to roll one out globally.

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McDonald’s says its customers want bigger burgers, not premium ones.

For years, McDonald’s tried to target customers with offers of premium burgers, CFO Ian Borden told analysts at the UBS Global Consumer and Retail Conference on Wednesday.

“We thought the opportunity was about premium burger which was wrong,” he said. “We weren’t successful.”

Instead, there’s a “significant” opportunity for “a large, more satiating-type burger” across McDonald’s large markets, Borden said.

McDonald’s said in 2019 that it was moving away from its Signature Crafted burger line. During the pandemic, many restaurants streamlined their menus to simplify operations and focus on their core offerings: McDonald’s, for example, cut salads from its US menu. It hasn’t brought them back.

Borden said McDonald’s is now piloting a “couple” of larger burgers.

“If those products work, we’re then going to scale one solution to that opportunity globally,” whereas, in the past, McDonald’s would have tried to sell different products in different countries, he said.

McDonald’s has not said whether its larger burger would feature bigger patties and buns or just more patties.

The biggest burger on its core US menu is the double quarter pounder, made up of two beef patties that collectively weigh about eight ounces before cooking. It’s also the most calorific burger on its core US menu.

Part of McDonald’s current strategy, known as “Accelerating the Arches,” focuses on promoting and improving its core menu: burgers, chicken, and coffee. The core menu makes up about two-thirds of its global systemwide sales.

Its new burger follows the development of what McDonald’s calls its “Best Burger.” Last year, the company overhauled its burgers by changing their ingredients and how they’re cooked, with softer buns, onion poured on top of the patties as they cook, and more Big Mac sauce.

Borden said Wednesday that the Best Burger had been rolled out to about 70 markets.

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