Anyone remember New Coke?

Those who do may be interested to hear of McDonald’s latest scheme to boost US sales: it is to modify the taste of its hamburgers.

An end-of-year memorandum sent to franchise holders reveals the ingredients of McDonald’s trademark beef patties will be adjusted using a reformulated seasoning mixture “to improve the flavor of our meat”.

And from the spring, the all-new hamburgers will be served in all-new sandwich buns.

The ailing fast food colossus is desperate to arrest a slump in sales after revealing last week that it is on course for the first quarterly loss in its 47 years of business [WAMN: 18-Dec-02].

To this end, McDonald’s recently introduced a Dollar Menu, to which it will devote a significant chunk of its 2003 marketing budget despite opposition from franchise holders.

“We understand the pressure that the Dollar Menu is adding to your margins,” declared the memorandum. “However, it's critical we stay the course. After 10 weeks, the Dollar Menu is differentiating us from the competition. Our competitors are feeling the heat.”

Other proposals to boost US performance include reducing its overall menu – such as limiting choice in french fries and drink sizes – to smooth operations.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional data by WARC staff