updated 12/7/2006 8:48:33 AM ET 2006-12-07T13:48:33

McDonald’s Corp. is testing hamburgers made with Angus beef at six Los Angeles-area restaurants, trying out products that would go head-to-head with Burger King’s line of higher-end burgers.

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Danya Proud, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s, said on Wednesday that customer response to the burgers has been positive so far, but added that no decision has been made about expanding the test to additional restaurants.

Proud added that the Angus burgers are just one of many menu items the company is testing in various markets.

If the burgers make it to McDonald’s permanent menu, they would mark a shift from the company’s recent focus on chicken.

McDonald’s has credited the popularity of new chicken products like Chicken Selects chicken strips, Premium Chicken Sandwiches, and, most recently, the chicken Snack Wrap for helping revitalize sales at its U.S. restaurants over the last three years.

During that time, however, competitors like Burger King and CKE Restaurants Inc.’s Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains have benefited from adding bigger, fancier hamburgers to their menus.

The company is testing three new Angus burgers, called Angus Third Pounders and selling for between $3.39 and $3.99 at one McDonald’s in the L.A. suburb of South Pasadena. By comparison, a double cheeseburger, McDonald’s biggest seller, costs $1.

The varieties include an Angus with cheese, an Angus Deluxe with lettuce and tomato, and an Angus Mushroom and Swiss.

They have been on the menu there and at five other restaurants for about a month, Proud said.

Many consumers consider beef from Angus cattle to be tender and more flavorful.

Burger King has its own Angus Steakburgers, Carl’s Jr. has a line of what it calls Six Dollar Burgers, and Hardee’s calls its high-end burgers Thickburgers.

Most recently, No. 3 U.S. burger chain Wendy’s International Inc. began selling a line of Double Melt burgers with two beef patties and toppings like bacon and cheddar and jalapeno peppers and cheddar.

At the McDonald’s in South Pasadena, customer Kim Buttars said he tried a Burger King Angus Steakburger a few years ago but prefers McDonald’s regular burgers.

“You get used to a certain kind of burger at McDonald’s, and I usually don’t stray from it,” he said. “McDonald’s nowadays feels like they have to follow everyone else’s trends.”

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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