The McDonald's fast food chain is launching a new product, only in Israel:
A premium burger made of entrecote and prime rib.
At the same time, the chain is removing the McFalafel
product introduced recently from all of its restaurants.
Some $2 million were invested in the new move, which included replacing the grills in all of the restaurants and developing a production line for the new type of meat.
The development and preparations lasted two years, and this is the chain's biggest launch since the McRoyal in 1998.
McDonald's will be competing against Israel's boutique hamburger restaurants – Moses, Agadir, Black Bar 'n' Burger and Burgus – which make up 20-30% of the Israeli hamburger market.
The chain's new meatloaf is thicker than usual and weighs 250 grams (about half a pound). According to McDonald's, similar burgers sold by the boutique chains weigh 135 to 174 grams.
The new product is branded as "the Big America series", which includes the Big New York and Big Texas hamburgers. Both will be sold for NIS 31.50 (about $9.20) or NIS 49.90 ($14.50) for a meal including a hamburger, fries and a regular-sized beverage – a relatively low price compared to the boutique chains.
The Big New York dish is comprised of a 10% fat rib-entrecote burger inside a bun with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onion and Royal Sauce. The entire dish has 6.4% fat, 639 calories and 995 milligrams of sodium.
The Big Texas dish is comprised of a 10% fat rib-entrecote burger inside a bun with barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and fried onion. The entire dish has 6.5% fat, 698 calories and 1,118 milligrams of sodium.
According to McDonald's, the new product has a lower fat content compared to similar hamburgers in boutique chains.
"We decided to enter a high-quality niche at a low cost and offer our customers a tastier product for an affordable price," McDonald's Israel CEO Omri Padan told Ynet. "There is a demand in Israel for a tasty premium burger for a suitable price.
"We invested a lot in this move. The hamburger is made of prime rib entrecote pieces and its tahini is different, delicate and homemade. We now have three roasting racks: A small one for the Big Mac, a medium-sized one for the McRoyal, and a large one for the entrecote burger.
The glorification of this hamburger and its definition as 'high quality' may slightly damage the image of the other hamburgers you sell, don't you think?
"We're not belittling the existing hamburger. There's room for it too, especially for those looking for a cheaper burger. After all, it's at least 10 shekels cheaper. We've basically extended the variety, and there's room for cheap meals, medium meals and premium meals."
You recently introduced a different product: What happened to McFalafel?
"It was an experiment, and we realized that falafel doesn't belong in McDonald's. We wanted a vegetarian dish alongside the corn snacks, but it didn't succeed.
"The falafel dish is gradually being removed from the restaurants. But you can't compare the new hamburger to the falafel, because this is a huge investment. We didn't invest as much in the falafel."