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McDonald’s Targets Shake Shack With Fancy British Burgers [Updated]

The chain is taking on upscale mass-market burger options.

One of McDonald's UK's new Signature Collection burgers.
One of McDonald's UK's new Signature Collection burgers.

Taking the latest step in its evolution, McDonald's is once again trying to shed its "cheap" label and come off with a touch of class. The burger behemoth is trying out a "Signature Collection" of menu items in the United Kingdom, reports The Guardian, in an effort to compete with higher-end chains such as Five Guys and Shake Shack.

The fancier burgers have a fancier price tag to match, checking in at 4.69 pounds (about $7.20). The most expensive burger on a typical U.S. McDonald's menu is the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese at roughly $4.80. What does that extra scratch get a customer? The burgers feature the "thickest ever patty sold by McDonald's" and high-quality ingredients such as brioche buns. McDonald's reportedly collaborated with chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants to come up with the recipes.

Each patty is made from 100 percent British and Irish beef. A McDonald's spokesperson tells Eater the new burgers are available in three varieties: The Classic (two rashers of Beechwood smoked bacon, a slice of natural cheddar cheese, wholegrain mustard, mayo, ketchup, Batavia lettuce, and red onion), The BBQ (smoky barbecue sauce, coleslaw, red onion, Batavia lettuce, Beechwood smoked bacon, and a slice of natural cheddar cheese), and The Spicy (jalapeño slices, pepper jack cheese, Batavia lettuce, mayo, and a spicy relish). If the Signature Collection proves popular in the U.K., McDonald's may consider a global expansion of the menu.

"When the Chefs Council started to develop this new premium offering, we worked with a brief generated by our customers — they told us they wanted thicker beef patties, high-quality ingredients, and freshly prepared," McDonald's food development director Duncan Cruttenden said in a prepared statement. "We've crafted a range that is a truly exciting permanent addition to our menu — every product has to earn a place on our menu and our customers have told us the Signature Collection has done just that."

The chain has attempted all sorts of tricks to reverse its downward trend in recent years. In addition to launching all-day breakfast and build-your-own "Chef Crafted" burgers, it's testing organic burgers in Germanyonline reservations in Sweden, and sweet potato fries in Texas.

Meanwhile in South America, McDonald's is once again serving french fries in Venezuela, according to the Associated Press. The world-famous side dish had been missing in the country since last winter due to potato shortages, and Mickey D's fans were stuck eating fried yuca instead.