GLOBAL burger restaurant giant McDonald’s today launches a Wagyu burger offer in the Australian market, available through the company’s network of 970 stores nationwide, while stocks last.
Australia is often used by McDonald’s as a ‘testbed’ for new products, including the McCafe concept, now taken worldwide, the McAngus burger, and the now-shelved ‘Design your own burger’ concept.
Sales started at 10.30am this morning.
A McDonald’s statement says in a world-first, Aussies will be able to get their hands on the new Wagyu Beef Burger (McWagyu was a step too far, apparently) – a burger featuring 100pc Australian-bred Wagyu beef.
The project is described by the company as a ‘limited time offering’, rather than a trial.
The new Wagyu burger breaks new ground for Macca’s in a number of areas – particularly in price point. The $10.75 retail price sets a new high for a McDonald’s burger (not linked to a meal deal or other add-ons like a second pattie). It is the first McDonald’s ‘a la carte’ (single item burger) to exceed the $10 barrier.
Speculation has been evident in industry circles for years that McDonald’s may at some time launch a Wagyu beef offer – especially following the outstanding success of the company’s McAngus program in 2010. Questioned about such a prospect at industry gatherings, the company in the past has always said it would not rule-out any new product launches, but pointed to ‘critical mass’ as an important factor with a product like Wagyu.
Wagyu industry growth in the past three years may have heightened the prospect of today’s launch.
“The delicious Wagyu beef patty on the new burger is served on a brand-new gourmet bun, and alongside a specially created sauce, crispy bacon strips, caramelised onion, tomato, lettuce, and a slice of Coon cheese,” the statement said.
The burger patties are being made at Keystone’s Australian Foods Corporation pattie plant near Coominya in southeast Queensland. The 151gram portion size is the same as McDonald’s existing McAngus patties. Internally, the size is referred to as a “three-for-one,” meaning there are three patties to the imperial pound.
“It’s a big eat,” a company contact told Beef Central this morning.
McDonald’s Australia’s chief marketing officer Jenni Dill said it was exciting for the company to be able to serve up a world-first McDonald’s burger that centred on an ingredient Australians loved – 100pc Australian-bred Wagyu beef.
“The introduction of the Wagyu Beef Burger has given Macca’s the opportunity to source from a new stream of Aussie farmers, with all the Wagyu beef being sourced entirely from Australia,” she said.
Director of supply chain at McDonald’s, Robert Sexton, said “At Macca’s we believe in the quality and taste of Australian produce, and we’re proud of our long history of supporting the Australian agriculture industry. The launch of this burger is further testament to our commitment to use local suppliers wherever possible.”
He estimated that while the burger was on store menus, McDonald’s would purchase more than 280 tonnes of Wagyu manufacturing beef.
Beef Central understands that well-established Wagyu supply chain Stanbroke Beef is the primary supplier of raw material for the program, from its export plant at Grantham in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley.
Australian Wagyu Association chief executive officer Matt McDonagh commended the initiative, which he said brought a brand new beef eating experience to McDonald’s customers.
“We look forward to hearing how Australians respond to this new addition to McDonald’s menu,” he said.
The Wagyu Beef Burger is part of the McDonald’s Gourmet Creations range and will be served nationwide as long as stocks last.