McDonald’s Expands Its Canadian Plant-Based Burger Test, And Cuts The Price


Last fall, McDonald’s gingerly joined its competition in the plant-based burger race, rolling out the P.L.T. in a small region in Canada.

Now, McDonald’s is nearly doubling the number of outlets where the faux meat burger is available. And, it is cutting the price, perhaps heeding complaints that the sandwich was a tad too expensive.

McDonald’s Canada said Wednesday that the P.L.T. — short for plant-based, lettuce and tomato — now will be available in 52 locations in Southwestern Ontario, up from an original 28.

The locations still skirt Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, and Windsor, across from Detroit, two major locations where the P.L.T. would get significant media scrutiny and, presumably, draw more buyers than McDonald’s could easily serve.

But the expansion shows the company is willing to keep trying with a plant-based product, especially given its popularity at other fast food outlets.

“The initial test of the P.L.T. allowed us to learn more about guest demand and how to integrate this new menu item into restaurant kitchen operations, while delivering the P.L.T. to our guests with the level of quality and craveability they know and love from McDonald’s,” Jeff Anderson, the chef of McDonald’s Canada, said in a statement.

Image result for mcdonald big size gif advertisements“As a test and learn company, the McDonald’s expansion of the P.L.T. into more restaurants in the Southwestern Ontario region will help us learn more about our guests’ tastes while continuing to provide variety within our menu.”

The P.L.T. test began September 30, and marked McDonald’s effort to enter a market where Burger King, White Castle and Del Taco had already gone, along with numerous independent restaurants.

But, where Burger King offers a plant-based patty on its existing Whopper, and White Castle is offering plant-based sliders, McDonald’s decided to create an entirely new sandwich.

The P.L.T. is constructed with a faux-meat patty, made by Beyond Meat, plus lettuce and tomato, a slice of cheese, onions, pickles, catsup, mustard and mayo. Diners can opt to add bacon.

Photos of the P.L.T. displayed in the St. Thomas, Ontario McDonald’s that I visited last fall made the sandwich look as large as a quarter-pounder.

But I found the patty was only the size of a conventional McDonald’s cheeseburger, and nowhere near the girth of one of its premium sandwiches, and wondered if McDonald’s hadn’t set the price too high.

Originally, the P.L.T. on its own cost $6.49 Canadian ($4.90 in U.S. dollars), or in a combo with fries and a drink for $9.89 Canadian ($7.46 USD).

Others must have spoken up, because on Monday, McDonald’s said the P.L.T. will now cost $5.99 Canadian as of January 14, or $4.60 USD. It said prices could vary by outlet.

“We gathered a lot of feedback in the initial test about what people like about the P.L.T.,” Michaela Charette, head of consumer insights at McDonald’s Canada, said in the news release.

“As we expand the test, we’re continuing to listen to our guests across Southwestern Ontario and assess the appetite for a plant-based alternative within the McDonald’s menu.”

By testing the P.L.T. in Canada, McDonald’s has escaped the spotlight that might have shone on the company had it chosen an American city.

It has gotten to see how its supply lines handle deliveries of the ingredients for the burger, and the time it takes McDonald’s outlets there to prepare and serve one.

Image result for amazon big size gif advertisementsAlso on Monday, Impossible Foods told Reuters that is no longer trying to land a contract to supply McDonald’s with plant-based patties, saying it can’t provide a big enough supply.

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown told Reuters in an interview that “it would be stupid for us to be vying for them right now … Having more big customers right now doesn’t do us any good until we scale up production.”

So, if McDonald’s decides to blanket Canada with P.L.T.s, or bring the sandwich to the States, it’s likely to partner with Beyond Meat, or find another company to produce its patties.

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I’m an alumni of the New York Times and NPR. I learned to cook from my mom, and studied with Patricia Wells and at Le Cordon Bleu. E: T: @mickimaynard I: @michelinemaynard Sorry, I don’t honor embargoes.

Source: McDonald’s Expands Its Canadian Plant-Based Burger Test, And Cuts The Price

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