McDonald’s is testing a new, toppings-heavy version of its third-pound Angus burger in San Diego. The test of the Clubhouse Angus was disclosed today by McDonald’s executives in a Manhattan meeting with Wall Street analysts and was reported first by Mark Kalinowski, restaurant analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott.
Actually, the burger in test isn’t really new. The Clubhouse Angus is essentially the same burger tested in Illinois last summer under the English Pub Burger name. Just like that earlier burger, the Clubhouse Angus has a third-pound Angus patty topped with “smoky Dijon” mustard sauce, grilled onions, hickory-smoked bacon, white Cheddar and American cheeses and steak sauce. It is served on the same bakery-style onion roll.
The Clubhouse Angus is a premium-price item introduced in San Diego at $4.59 alone or $6.79 for a combo meal (the English Pub Burger was $4.49). However, coupons being distributed by San Diego McDonald’s operators offer free fries and free medium drink with Clubhouse Angus purchase. The coupon is valid through the end of July.
Kalinowski reports that McDonald’s incoming CEO Don Thompson and COO Tim Fenton said its sales during the last 10 days of April were soft due to underperforming Angus and Premium Chicken promotions. The Cherry Berry Chiller initially sold below projections but has been strong in May thanks to warm weather.
As for Europe, where austerity measures and faltering economies present consumer-confidence and disposable-income challenges, McDonald’s executives said sales in the UK and Russia have been strong. They described German consumers as “more deal-loyal than they are brand-loyal,” according to Kalinowski. The chain needs to better with a value-priced tier there, the executives said.
In France, McDonald’s main competitor is the refrigerator as budget-pressed consumers choose to eat at home, the executives said. As a result, McDonald’s will expand the Petit Plaisir menu of lower-price, smaller-portion foods to appeal to consumers cutting back.