The hip new Hamburglar may have caused a brief stir on social media when he was released earlier this year but he did little to improve sirloin burger sales.
McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb told Bloomberg that the revamped mascot was supposed to help promote premium sirloin burgers, a limited-time offering that restaurants will soon be phasing out.
“Our sirloin burger didn’t meet our expectations,” McComb told Bloomberg. “However, this sandwich represents action steps the U.S. has taken to enhance food-quality perceptions. Seventy-six percent of customers who tried the sirloin burger said their opinion of McDonald’s beef improved.”
The attractive, re-imagined Hamburglar was a live-action version of McDonald’s cartoon character popularized in the early 1990s. With a Zorro-style mask, trench coat, and scruffy beard, the new burger thief was aimed at a slightly older set of would-be consumers interested in premium offerings like the sirloin burger and artisan chicken.
Yet, the burger did little to boost revenue, which saw a 2 percent drop in same-store sales over the second quarter—the seventh consecutive quarter of decline, according to Bloomberg.
At a conference in July, CEO Steve Easterbrook said the tide was turning and the chain was “seeing early signs of momentum” as it continues to appeal to health conscious millennials.
In Australia, McDonald’s has employed the use of its Create-Your-Taste platform to roll out a lettuce-bun burger. Customers can assemble a burger packed with all the fixings—beef or chicken patty, onions, cheese, condiments etc—packed between large pieces of Romaine lettuce.
Though McDonald’s is hardly the first chain to come up with low-carb options (In-N-Out regulars have been enjoying Protein Style burgers for years), some on social media are applauding the chain for a step in the right direction:
— Kaitlyn Benetz (@kaitlynbenetz) July 17, 2015
Looks like the chain that promised it would "never sell kale" is getting a bit greener. McDonald’s U.S. is slowly expanding its Create-Your-Taste platform in the domestic market with locations in Southern California and Chicago.