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McDonald’s and Wendy’s Are Testing out These New Upscale Items

McDonald's and Wendy's hope upgrading food offerings will bring in new, younger customers.McDonald's and Wendy's hope upgrading food offerings will bring in new, younger customers.
McDonald's and Wendy's hope upgrading food offerings will bring in new, younger customers.Bloomberg via Getty Images

McDonald’s and Wendy’s are ditching traditional burgers and fries for more upscale items.

The fast food chains are testing out items like Pesto Mozzarella Melts and Truffle Bacon Cheeseburgers, respectively, as part of its effort to attract new and younger customers.

McDonald’s (MCD) recently offered the Pesto Mozzarella Melt in Southern California, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to Fortune. The sandwich, which costs $4.99, is made with a chicken patty, baby greens, a slice of tomato, two slices of natural mozzarella cheese, and creamy pesto made with real basil.

As for Wendy’s (WEN), it’s testing the Truffle Bacon Cheeseburger and Bacon Truffle Fries in Massachusetts and Tennessee, CNBC reported. The burger, which also costs $4.99, features a beef patty topped with mixed greens, Applewood smoked bacon, truffle aioli, Parmesan cheese sauce, tomato, and cheese—all between a buttery croissant bun, according to Chew Boom.

These menu items “play to Wendy’s brand positioning within the quick-service industry: ‘a cut above’ traditional fast food, yet still fully within fast food,” Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in a research note Monday, according to CNBC. Kalinowski also told CNBC that Wendy’s truffle burger is a great way to set the chain apart from its competition.

It’s not clear yet if the two chains plan to keep the menu items after the test runs. Regardless, the limited-time offers and food stunts are a sure-fire way to bring new customers in if done correctly, according to CNBC.


McDonald’s and Wendy’s have actively been trying to win over customers this past year. In February, McDonald’s introduced a low-carb breakfast at various locations in Los Angeles and San Diego, offering meals under both $5.00 and 500 calories. It also rolled out a bigger Big Mac last spring, as well as a Chicken-and-Pancake sandwich and chocolate-topped fries last winter. The company has also removed artificial preservatives from its chicken nuggets.

Wendy’s made a similar when it comes to its ingredients: Just last month, it announced that it would stop using chickens raised with antibiotics that are important to human health by 2017.

Fortune has reached out to Wendy’s for comment and will update the story if it responds.