Can McDonald's make a premium burger work?

Chain tries again new line of sandwiches

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CHICAGO — McDonald’s has launched a line of premium mix-and-match sandwiches it calls Signature Crafted, a pricier option it hopes customers will bite onto despite their focus on value.

The Signature Crafted line features three topping choices — maple bacon Dijon (grilled onions, thick-cut bacon and Dijon sauce), sweet barbecue bacon (barbecue sauce, bacon and crispy onions) and pico guacamole (avocado, pico de gallo and buttermilk ranch sauce).

All come with white cheddar cheese. The topping options are available on a burger patty or grilled or crispy chicken.

The new line, which rolls out nationwide this week, costs around $5. The timing of the rollout varies by market, and some restaurants offered the sandwiches earlier than this week.

The Signature Crafted line was developed after McDonald’s discontinued Create Your Taste, an entirely customizable sandwich.

Speed is a critical consideration for McDonald’s and other fast-food chains rolling out new sandwiches, as too many options can bog down kitchens and slow the arrival of a customer’s food.

But McDonald’s may face another problem with the unveiling of Signature Crafted — customers may not be willing to fork over $5 for a burger. The world’s largest burger chain, based in suburban Chicago, said in March that the higher-priced versions of its value option, McPick2, didn’t work.

The Golden Arches also said it has lost millions of customer visits over the past five years, since it first moved away from the dollar menu.

Premium burger options have had little success at McDonald’s. The company has tried a number of options from the Arch Deluxe to Sirloin Burgers that it eventually discontinued.

To balance out the price of a meal, McDonald’s earlier this year cut beverage prices, offering $1 soda and brewed coffee. It also offers frequent promotions for free fries and other discounts through its mobile app.

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