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McDonald's tweaks toasting, grilling methods to improve taste of burgers

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NEW YORK — McDonald's is tweaking how it cooks it burgers in hopes of winning back customers.

To improve the taste of its food, the chain is toasting its buns longer so sandwiches will be warmer, said McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook at the Bernstein's Strategic Decisions Conference in New York. He also said the company is changing the way it sears and grills its beef so that the patties are juicier.

"It's these little things that add up to big differences for our customers," he said.

Easterbrook, who stepped into his role March 1, said the changes are part of the company's recommitment to "tastier food across the menu." The remarks come after Easterbrook laid out the initial steps for turning around the company's performance earlier this month. Those plans include a restructuring of the company intended to strip away layers of bureaucracy, and an acceleration of refranchising restaurants around the world.

During the presentation, Easterbrook also said the company will stop reporting monthly sales results.

McDonald's Corp., based in Oak Brook, Illinois, said June will be the last month for which it reports sales at established locations. Those results will be reported with its second-quarter earnings results. Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, a McDonald's spokeswoman, said the company started reporting monthly sales results in 2003.

Other major restaurant chains, including Burger King's parent company Restaurant Brands International, and Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, do not report sales figures on a monthly basis.

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