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McDonald's first new burger in 8 years

From Mike Hughlett of www.ChicagoBreakingNews.com: McDonald's Corp.'s hefty new Angus burger appears to be set for a national rollout this fall, and possibly as early as the summer. It would be McDonald's first new burger in eight years.

McDonald's began testing the new one-third-pound burger in March 2007 in Southern California, and later in New York and Columbus, Ohio.
The Oak Brook-based fast-food giant plans to make the Angus part of its national "Monopoly" promotion in October, according to an internal McDonald's document obtained by the Tribune. McDonald's runs the popular promotion, based on the board game, annually in the fall.

But one McDonald's franchisee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Angus roll-out will likely come sooner. "I believe it is in the summer time frame," he said. A McDonald's spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on speculation.

The franchisee also said that he doesn't believe the Angus will be a "core menu" item at McDonald's, but will instead be a "promotional" product, one that shows up on the menu for a few months at a time. "It's not the next Big Mac, that's for sure," he said.

The Angus may end up being like the McRib, another classic McDonald's promotional product, said Dick Adams, a consultant to McDonald's franchisees. The McRib sells particularly well when it's advertised heavily, but not much when it's not, he said.

Then again, Adams said, if the Angus does well in its national rollout, McDonald's could leave it on the menu permanently.

Irwin Kruger, a McDonald's franchisee in New York City, has been selling the Angus burger since August 2007 and said it has "been very well received" by customers. "From an operations standpoint, it has been successful," said Kruger, who owns four McDonald's restaurants.

Last October, McDonald's management told stock analysts that the Angus wouldn't roll out nationally for at least a year, according to a research report written at the time by an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.

The weak economy was one reason given for the wait, because the Angus costs $4, making it McDonald's most expensive burger. But the economy has only become worse since then.

The national launch of the Angus burger was first reported by Crain's Chicago Business.
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