McDonald's tests a bigger burger, report says

Fast-food chain trying out a high-end, one-third of a pound Angus beef burger priced at $3.99, according to newspaper.

NEW YORK ( -- Fast-food chain McDonald's is testing a bigger high-end Angus burger that costs a little bit more for the extra weight, according to a published report Wednesday.

The Chicago Tribune said the new Third Pounder is currently available only in about 600 restaurant locations in Southern California. At one-third of a pound, the burger is the biggest on the McDonald's (Charts) menu at outlets where it is being tested.

Would you try a one-third pound burger at McDonald's?
  • Sure
  • Don't eat burgers at McDonald's
  • Don't eat burgers, period.
  • Not sure

It is also the most expensive sandwich, priced at $3.99, the paper said.

The paper quoted McDonald's franchise owner Scott Frisbie as saying that he approached the company about two years ago with the idea that the McDonald's menu needed a premium burger to remain competitive.

Developed by McDonald's executive chef Dan Coudreaut, the burger comes on a denser bun, which Frisbie said has more of a "roll flavor," the report said.

"The initial reaction has been overwhelmingly positive," said Frisbie, who helped conduct the initial tests of the burger during the past four months at two of his family's 17 franchises in the Anaheim area. "The sales really surprised us," he told the paper.

McDonald's traditionally has been cautious about adding new menu items. In recent years the company has introduced chicken snack wraps and salads to its menu.

Meanwhile, its competitors have also added Angus burgers to their menus. Burger King (Charts) added the $3.99 Angus Steak Burger to its menu in 2004. Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, which are both owned by CKE Restaurants Inc (Charts)., offer as many as eight variations of an Angus burger priced as high as $6.

Hardee's added the burgers, which are known as Thickburgers, in 2003. Carl's Jr. added the Angus burger to its menu in 2004, the report said.

The report said that the new sandwich comes in three versions: a deluxe with American cheese, tomato slices, lettuce, red onion strips and pickles; a mushroom and Swiss cheese; and a bacon and American cheese.

Only the double Quarter Pounder with cheese compares to the calorie count of the new burgers. The Angus Third Pounder ranges from 720 calories to 860 calories, while the double Quarter Pounder contains 740 calories. McDonald's signature sandwich, the Big Mac, is 540 calories, the report said.

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