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McDonald's

Changes are afoot at McDonald's — and they're bigger than mac and cheese or mozzarella sticks. The McRib creator is getting a visual overhaul, with new, trendier store designs and updated packaging.

McDonald's and its U.S. franchisees "are in the process of updating their restaurants according to several new designs," reports BuzzFeed News, moving toward phasing out the red-and-yellow cafeteria-esque look that's ruled its restaurants for decades. The redesign includes no less than half a dozen different looks, with upscale-sounding names like "Allegro" and "Craft." The new designs boast more modern furnishings and updated color schemes that wouldn't look out of place in a design magazine — a dramatic change that BuzzFeed calls "a risky and costly branding move."

Meanwhile, the food packaging is also getting a new look: This month, the company is unveiling new bags, cups, and boxes with pared-down graphics at all its U.S. stores. FastCo Design notes the new packaging look is "about using simplicity to convey the company's new agenda of being modern and progressive."

But perhaps all the money — millions upon millions of dollars, no doubt — being spent to update McDonald's packaging and make its restaurant interiors more trendy would be better put toward a different objective: improving the quality of its food. After all, that's one major thing that the oh-so-elusive millennial demographic has said it wants — and is undoubtedly the reason that McDonald's is lagging behind as fancier chains like Shake Shack enjoy surging popularity. Asked by Eater if the company had any intentions to upgrade the meat it uses as it makes upgrades elsewhere, a McDonald's rep said, "We’re proud of our food and use 100% USDA-inspected beef in our hamburgers. We are testing new ways of preparing and serving our burgers (for example, 'Create Your Taste') as we continue to evolve our menu to meet the changing needs and expectations of our customers."

Sorry, McDonald's: Those anonymous chef-designed burgers and "artisan" chicken sandwiches aren't fooling anyone. If the executives truly want to make McDonald's "modern and progressive," they need to take a cold, hard look at the subpar beef that makes up their burgers.

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