Ray Ryan speaks to McDonald’s Ireland and some food producers, who have teamed up to produce an artisan burger made with 100% Irish beef.
THE burger owes its name to Germany’s second largest city, Hamburg, grew in popularity out of a World Fair at St Louis in the US over a century ago and is now a daily choice for millions of food consumers worldwide.
But this very day it acquires a new distinction with McDonald’s Ireland launching the first Irish artisan burger, McMór, with Ballymaloe relish and Charleville cheddar, two national favourites, chosen as ingredients.
The McMór, which will be available in all 88 McDonald’s restaurants across Ireland from Wednesday, for a six week period only, is the company’s tribute to the best produce and finest flavours from across Ireland.
Nestled inside the potato-flaked bun is 100% Irish beef and bacon provided by Dawn Meats and Dew Valley respectively, layered with shredded cabbage and whole baby leaf kale, alongside Charleville cheddar from Kerry and Ballymaloe relish.
The McMór was created by McDonald’s Ireland Chefs Council, which held its first meeting in May of last year with a view to developing an authentic local burger with real Irish flavours.
Council members Stephen Macken, innovation chef at Kerry; Dermott Slade, head development chef with Dawn Meats; and Steve Love, research chef at McCormick Flavour Group, selected the combinations of local ingredients.
Roma O’Connor, marketing director, McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland, said they were delighted to launch the McMór and to be collaborating with great Irish producers, to create their first ever Irish artisan burger.
“I’m confident that customers will love the taste of the product and the Chefs Council has been working hard to ensure just the right mix of ingredients to deliver an authentic Irish taste… in fact, a real taste of home,” said Ms O’Connor.
Stephen Macken said Kerry, manufacturer of Charleville cheddar, was thrilled to be the first Irish cheese producer to develop a partnership with McDonald’s in Ireland. He was very proud of the end result and confident it will be a hit with customers.
Maxine Hyde, marketing manager, Ballymaloe, said they quickly agreed to participate in the McMór project when approached by McDonald’s Ireland.
“We have been working with the development team ever since,” she said. “We pride ourselves on using the best raw ingredients to craft our rich, vibrant sauce.”
Mr Slade said the Chefs Council put a huge amount of work into developing the new product. All of the beef and bacon used in McDonald’s burgers in Ireland are 100% Irish.
“And now with the addition of the much-loved Ballymaloe relish and Charleville cheese brands in the one burger, it’s sure to be a hit with customers,” he said.
McDonald’s is the third largest multi-national employer in Ireland with a workforce of more than 4,800. It was established here in 1977 and, according to its website, it is the largest purchaser of Irish beef by volume every year.
“We purchase 40,000 tonnes of beef which is then exported to other European markets, meaning that, every year one, in five hamburgers sold in McDonald’s in Europe is of Irish origin,” said Ms O’Connor.
“So, whether you are in one of our restaurants from Athlone to Zurich, there’s a pretty good chance that the beef you’re eating has come from one of our Irish farms.”
The company points out that every McDonald’s beef product sold in Ireland is made from 100% pure Irish beef — with just a little salt and pepper added after cooking.
“That’s why we can use the Bord Bia certified member logo on our beef — it shows that the beef has come from one of 18,000 accredited farms across Ireland that supply McDonald’s.”
The company also buys Irish milk and cheese from Kerry Foods, sells Ballygowan water in all its restaurants and purchases a million eggs every year from Greenfield Foods in Co Monaghan.
McDonald’s global food chain, founded in America 75 years ago, now has 36,000 outlets in more than 100 countries worldwide. The stores employ 1.9m people and serves 69m customers every day.
More than 80% of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local business people.
Last year, the company, the largest fast food chain in the world, had a brand value exceeding $85bn with revenue of £27.44bn.
It traces its history to the brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald, who opened a restaurant in San Bernardino, California, in 1940, and eight years later introduced a ‘Speedee Service System’ which set the principles of the modern fast-food restaurant.
The brothers began franchising in 1953 and sold the company in 1961 to Ray Kroc, the supplier of their multi-mixer milkshake machines.
He visited their restaurant in 1954 and was stunned by the effectiveness of their operation. They produced a limited menu, concentrating on just a few items — burgers, fries, and beverages —which allowed them to focus on quality and service.
Mr Kroc, who died in 1984, wanted to build a restaurant system that would be famous for providing food of consistently high quality and uniform methods of preparation. He wanted to serve burgers, buns, fries and beverages that tasted the same in Alaska as they did in Alabama.
He persuaded franchisees and suppliers to buy into his vision, working not for McDonald’s but for themselves, with McDonald’s. He promoted the slogan: “In business for yourself, but not by yourself”.
Mr Kroc was once asked how he became an overnight success. “I was an overnight success alright,” he said, “but 30 years is a long, long night”. His philosophy, according to the company’s website, was based on the principle of a three-legged stool: one leg was McDonald’s franchisees; the second, McDonald’s suppliers; and the third, McDonald’s employees. The stool was only as strong as the three legs that formed its foundation.
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