In the quick-service restaurant industry, several top companies have restaurants nationwide in the U.S. McDonald's and Wendy’s are two QSRs that have a nationwide presence and serve the same types of food items. With a focus on burgers and sandwiches, the two companies are natural competitors.
McDonald's is a leader in the industry with a market capitalization of $137.1 billion. Wendy’s, on the other hand, is a much smaller company with a market cap of $4.87 billion. McDonald's had 37,855 restaurants worldwide compared to Wendy’s 6,711 restaurants in 2018. McDonald's has been the clear leader in the industry and has experienced substantial growth from the time Ray Kroc became part of McDonald’s in the mid-1950s. Wendy’s was founded by Dave Thomas, who started the company with one store in 1969.
Ray Kroc’s and Dave Thomas’ efforts are outstanding examples of the real American Dream. Starting with nothing and working against challenges, those men were able to change the landscape of the restaurant industry. Fast forward to today, the companies that they built are still around and feeding millions of people around the world.
A key part of the success that both companies have experience is their historical focus on quality.
The purpose of this article is to review and compare the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Wendy’s Baconator. A person requested that I write a comparison of the two burgers as the result of eating them on two weekends. I thank that person for allowing me to review and compare the two.
In this article, a comparison of the quality of the restaurants will also be covered. To expand on the comparison, I will also review some ways that the companies can improve their offerings so that they can continue to grow.
Above McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Wendy's Baconator image created by David Aughinbaugh II with images from McDonald's and Wendy's. Images used under the fair use provision. Please feel free to share.
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese
The Quarter Pounder With Cheese (QPC) is one of McDonald’s top burgers in its lineup. The Quarter Pounder and the Big Mac are the two flagship burgers for the company. A quarter of a pound of fresh beef that is seasoned with just salt and pepper is the main part of the burger. Also included on the burger are slivered onions, two slices of cheese, and pickles. The bread for the burger is comprised of a sesame seed bun. You can also add other options to the burger, which includes bacon. On the burger that I ate for this review, bacon was included on the burger.
I have had enjoyed QPC for many years before reviewing it for this article. It is a great burger that has a good portion of meat, and pricing for the burger is very reasonable when compared to others in the market. The taste of the meet on the Quarter Pounder with Cheese is the best part of the burger. The seasoning seems to be done very well, and it almost seems that there is more seasoning than just salt and pepper. The onions and cheese are great and add to the flavor of the burger. I also had bacon on the burger, and it was a nice addition; however, the bacon that McDonald’s uses is not high on my quality list. I give the QPC a thumbs up, and it is one of my go-to options when I look to get a burger from a fast-food restaurant.
Before I start this review, I want to note that I am not a frequent patron of Wendy’s. Before reviewing the Baconator, I had eaten at Wendy’s for a short time and then stopped visiting the restaurant chain. My experience with the Baconator is thus limited.
The Baconator contains half a pound of fresh beef, 6 slices of Applewood smoked bacon, and American cheese. Ketchup and mayonnaise are included on the burger. The bun is comprised of what Wendy’s calls a premium bun.
I enjoyed the Baconator, and it would be one of my top options when dining at Wendy’s. The best part of the Baconator is the bacon. The Applewood smoked bacon is one of the quality pieces of bacon that you can find at a quick-service restaurant. Overall, the Baconator is a quality burger that I would put on my list of approved burgers.
Comparison of the Two
When comparing the two, I still prefer the Quarter Pounder with Cheese over the Baconator. I may be slightly biased as I have been eating at McDonald's since I was a small kid and admire the remarkable story of how Ray Kroc was able to build Mcdonald's into what it has become today. The main reason why the QPC is better than the Baconator is that the taste of the beef is much better than the Baconator. Seasoning in the Quarter Pounder is noticeable and savory. In comparison, the Baconator has almost no flavor. The QPC, however, lacks the quality bacon that the Baconator has.
How to Improve Both Products
McDonald’s and Wendy’s can improve both of their products by just improving their two problem areas. If Wendy’s just added quality seasoning to the Baconator, its burger would beat the Quarter Pounder with Cheese. If McDonald’s added quality bacon to its lineup, then Wendy’s would have trouble matching the Quarter Pounder.
It is hard to influence me to move away from McDonald’s; however, if Wendy improved other areas of their operations, they could gain me as a fan and be growing significantly faster.
Another factor I look at when choosing a quick-service restaurant is the quality of service that they provide throughout their network of locations. In my eyes, McDonald’s has done a better job of upholding quality in their restaurants than Wendy’s. That is not to say that McDonald’s has quality and customer service issues at many of their locations. I have not been impressed with the customer service and quality at all of the Wendy’s I have eaten at. A local McDonald’s that I buy from has been very constant in providing good service, and I seem to find that to be the case at many McDonald’s.
If Wendy’s could improve their customer service and quality to the level that McDonald’s has obtained, they can grow much faster and gain a much larger customer base of fans.
Even with the problems that both companies face in keeping customers happy, I highly appreciate the work that their organizations have done to bring new ideas and innovation to the QSR industry.