Fast Food rivals McDonalds and Starbucks are at the moment on the same team, at least when it comes to the cup their coffee comes in. Buzz60’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has more.

In the Big Mac’s 50th anniversary year, McDonald’s continues to hold down its stake when it comes to cheap burgers even as it is promoting its more upscale offerings.

That’s because the same customer who forks over a buck for the $1 cheeseburger may very well be the one coming back the next day for a premium Double Bacon Smokehouse burger. 

“Customers will dive up and down that menu ladder, depending on how hungry they are and what they feel like,” CEO Steve Easterbrook told USA TODAY in an interview.

Driving the low end is the chain’s $1-$2-$3 Dollar Menu, introduced nationally in January. The high end can be credited to the fresh beef Quarter Pounders, which debuted in May. Fresh beef also is now in Signature Crafted Recipe sandwiches, the chain’s fancier line-up since May 2017.


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Comparable sales in the U.S. were up 2.6% due to bigger checks, the result of both changes in menu offerings and price increases, McDonald’s said Thursday, when it released its second-quarter earnings

The birthday boy, the Big Mac, remains the chain’s most popular item, though, Easterbrook said. An estimated 1.3 billion are sold worldwide every year.

The attention showered on McDonald’s recently doesn’t come from its iconic burger, but from a menu offering not usually associated with the old-school fast-food world: Salads.

The number of people linked to Cyclospora-tainted greens from the chain has grown to 286 in 15 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Eleven of them were hospitalized.

Shortly after customers started falling ill in mid-July, McDonald’s voluntarily stopped selling salads at an estimated 3,000 restaurants in 14 states — Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri — and switched to a different supplier.

As of three days ago, all affected restaurants had been fully replenished with a new supply of lettuce mix, Easterbrook said.

“We addressed it very quickly. Customers always appreciate (that),” he said.

Cyclospora’s most common symptom is watery diarrhea. The parasite is transmitted through foods contaminated with fecal matter.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there’s a delay between the times when people get sick and when they report it. Cyclospora infections may take as much as six weeks to be clearly identified.


In its quest for global breakfast domination, McDonald’s is testing out catering for the day’s most important meal too.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer

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