2016 is the year of the monkey, but McDonald's is also hoping it'll be the year of the customized burger kiosk. The mega-chain plans to launch 150 "Create Your Taste" burger outlets in China this year, reports Reuters. The company currently has more than 2,000 stores in China.
"Create Your Taste" is McDonald's attempt to compete with fast-casual "better burger" purveyors such as Shake Shack and Five Guys. The self-serve kiosks enable diners to choose from dozens of fancier ingredients from guacamole to sriracha mayo; the burgers, which both take longer to prepare and are considerably more expensive than the restaurant's traditional burger offerings, are then delivered to the customer's table by employees.
The company announced in late 2014 it would roll out the burger kiosks to 2,000 of its U.S. stores. Eater NY critic Robert Sietsema was decidedly unimpressed by the kiosk-ordered burgers; even with their fancy toppings, they still utilize the same subpar beef as the rest of the company's lackluster burgers.
Reuters notes that both McDonald's and fast food conglomerate Yum Brands "are slowly turning things around in China" following a 2014 food safety scandal involving expired meat that damaged both companies' reputations. Following four straight quarters of declining sales, McDonald's has now seen a slight sales increase for the second quarter in a row. That's also the story here in the U.S., where the chain has been bolstered by its recent all-day breakfast introduction.