Florida McDonald’s Franchisees Testing Ground Chicken Burgers

Tampa Bay-area McDonald's restaurants debuted a new chicken burger on Monday.

Tampa Bay-area McDonald’s restaurants debuted a new chicken burger on Monday. (via @mcdtampabay)

Who needs a regular old hamburger — or a turkey burger, or a chicken filet — when you can get a burger made from ground chicken instead? At least that’s the thought process for the operators of 202 McDonald’s restaurants in Florida’s Tampa Bay area.

The new regional-specific item debuted Monday after local McDonald’s operators worked with the company’s chicken supplier Keystone Foods for 18 months to craft a more heath-conscious alternative to traditional burgers, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports.

The chicken burger concept, which is a 50/50 blend of white and dark ground chicken, was born from the desire of 37 Tampa Bay area McDonald’s operators looking to appeal to new customers.

“It’s a product that may cause people to think about McDonald’s in a different way,” Blake Casper, CEO of Caspers Co., which operates 53 McDonald’s franchises in the area, tells the Business Journal. “Ultimately, anyone that likes a good burger is our target for this product.”

The new burgers – which have 390 to 400 calories – come in two varieties: the Classic with red onions, lettuce, tomatoes and ranch sauce and the Signature which includes grilled onions with lettuce, tomatoes and a tangy and sweet “signature” sauce.

Casper tells the Tampa Bay Times that the operators decided to use chicken in the new burgers as it’s a more approachable and easily customizable than other alternatives like turkey.

“The whole chicken burger market is growing; you’re seeing it more in restaurants,” Casper told the Times. “This isn’t a chicken sandwich, but a chicken burger — there’s a real difference in its bite.”

While the chicken burgers are only available in the Tampa Bay region for now, Casper and other local operators believe it could expand to other areas of the U.S. eventually.

“We are definitely approaching this product with the same spirit that the owner/operators who created the Filet-O-Fish, Egg McMuffin and Big Mac did,” Casper says of other McDonald’s staples that started regionally. “But our focus is on our customers here in Tampa Bay.”

The next Filet-O-Fish? Tampa Bay McDonald’s operators create their own chicken burger (EXCLUSIVE) [Tampa Bay Business Journal]
Tampa Bay McDonald’s restaurants debut ground chicken burger [Tampa Bay Times]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.