It could be argued that the Big Mac is one of, if not the best, fast-food burgers out there. However, while McDonald’s obviously got it right with those two all-beef patties and special sauce, the Golden Arches certainly aren’t batting a thousand when it comes to all of their burgers. In fact, here are 10 burgers McDonald’s Wishes You Would forget About.
10. McLean Deluxe
McDonald’s is not where you go to get “lean” food. Usually. But, back in 1991, the fast-food giant decided to give it a try anyway. It seemed like a can’t-miss-burger. The McLean Deluxe made its debut just right in time to grab the newly emerging health-conscious market. Rather than the usual more than 20% fat that most of their burgers had, the McLean Deluxe – as the name would suggest – was a much leaner hamburger and came in with just 9% fat. McD’s was so excited about this burger that they put together a huge ad campaign and rolled it out into restaurants really fast. But they forgot one thing. Yes, there were lots of people that wanted a lower-fat burger, but those people also wanted that burger to be tasty – which the McLean Deluxe was definitely not! You see, in order to get that fat percentage down, McDonald had to replace 10% of the burger’s meat with something else. They went with water. And to bind the water to the meat patty, they used a seaweed extract called carrageenan. How yummy does that sound? Well, it tasted as good as it sounds, and even with the company adding “natural” beef flavor additives to try and compensate for the water and seaweed, it didn’t work, and it didn’t take long for this dry, unpleasant burger to garner the nickname the McFlopper.
There are more than just one reason McDonald’s might want you to forget about some of their past burger offerings. Not every burger on this list got here because it tasted bad. Some, like the McAfrika find themselves on here because they were named in bad taste. You see, the McAfrika burger, which consisted of beef, cheese, tomatoes, and salad in a pita, was created based on an authentic African recipe. It’s not that people complained about the flavor, but more about the lack of tact the chain displayed. The issue with this 2002 offering is that the burger was a limited release menu item in Norway, one of the richest countries in the world, named after Africa, a continent facing terrible food shortages and famine. As one official from Norwegian Church Aid said at the time, that “launching a burger with such a name at the same time Africa is facing perhaps its worst hunger catastrophe ever, is very bad timing.” It should also be pointed out, though, that there were some supportive voices in the crowd as well. The head of African Youth in Norway said that “finally, we see someone who uses the continent’s name in a positive way. Even though there is a terrible shortage of food in some areas of Africa, this is far from the situation all over the continent.” Even though McDonald’s did admit it was a bad look, they kept the item on the menu for the scheduled duration of its limited-time run.
The McDLT is another example of a failed McDonald’s burger that missed the mark for reasons that had nothing to do with taste. As some of you may remember, the McDLT was a standard burger whose innovation came in its packaging. This hamburger came with two separate compartments. In one was the lettuce, tomato, and pickles; while the meat and bun were in the other. The intention was to keep the warm and cool components of the sandwich separate until right before you were ready to eat it. All you had to do was assemble the two sides together and, bam! You had a freshly made burger, ready to be chowed down. This was a cool idea, and all indications were that the burger tasted pretty good. However, the McDLT’s double-sized packaging was made of styrofoam. Yes, all of McDonald’s burger packaging was environmentally-unfriendly styrofoam back then, but adding 100% more of it for one burger, just to keep lettuce cold seemed excessive and completely socially irresponsible. Even so, the McDLT did remain on the menu from 1984 until 1991 – until environmental activists began criticizing McDonald’s for their superfluous use of far-from-green Styrofoam, and the McDLT was pulled from the menu. These days the chain is actually working towards a goal of creating 100% sustainable packaging, so if they get there soon, it could maybe provide them with some positive karma points.
7. Hula Burger
Ray Kroc, the man who made McDonald’s what it is today, was a genius in many ways. But even geniuses do dumb things sometimes. Which brings us to the Hula Burger. The idea was a sound one. You see, in the 1960s, Kroc started to notice that, in Catholic areas, McDonald’s sales were lower because many Catholics would refrain from eating meat on Fridays. With that in mind, Kroc believed that a meatless burger would help boost sales. Makes sense, so far. However, the part we don’t understand is that his idea was to replace the meat patty with a grilled pineapple ring. Oh, and did we mention that this was a “cheeseburger.” This means that yes, this grilled pineapple ring came topped with cheese! We’re pretty sure that even those of you who feel that pineapple on a pizza gets a pass, would not be excited by pineapple and cheese on a bun. Do we really need to say that the Hula Burger wasn’t the sales-behemoth Kroc had hoped it would be? It was one of McDonald’s earliest flops. Why Ray decided grilled pineapple would be the meatless way to go – we may never know. Following the epic failure, McDonald’s eventually came up with a better meatless option that’s very much more popular today; the Filet-O-Fish. Needless to say, it was a much better move to go with fish.
6. Arch Deluxe
McDonald’s has brought us some of the best and most iconic ad campaigns and television commercials ever. But they’ve also brought us some of the worst – like the amazingly bad campaign they put together for the Arch Deluxe. There was nothing wrong with the actual burger. It had a quarter-pound beef patty, peppered bacon, lettuce, onions, cheese, and a secret sauce; all served on a potato-flour bakery bun. Sounds pretty tasty, no? The problem came from the advertising. They wanted to make a burger directed to a more “mature” audience. First of all, the “Mc” naming convention was not used, which is McDonald’s signature, and they went with a more sophisticated name. Then, they released it on the world with a $300 million marketing campaign behind it and a tagline calling it “the burger with the grown-up taste.” The Arch Deluxe was marketed as a sandwich for only adults, which did not exactly coincide with the larger youth clientele the chain had. The commercials even featured some young rappers being disgusted by the Arch Deluxe. Like that was going to help sell the burger? There were also commercials showing Ronald McDonald partaking in more adult and sophisticated sports such as pool and golf. The Arch Deluxe was released in 1996 and by 1999, it was only being sold in select restaurants and was completely discontinued in 2000. This burger could’ve been something really amazing, but it owes its failure to a bizarre marketing campaign.
5. McGratin Croquette
Who doesn’t love macaroni? And everyone loves mashed potatoes, right? And shrimp is one of the most popular seafood in the world. Besides their individual popularity, what do these three food items have in common? They were all part of the failed McGratin Croquette. And when we say “all part of,” we mean that literally. This McGratin combined macaroni, mashed potatoes, and shrimp into a patty that was then deep fried and placed on a bun with some cabbage. This doozy of a sandwich probably takes the cake as one of the most bizarre failed items McDonald’s has seen. If you were wondering why you’ve never heard of this menu item before, that’s probably because it was introduced for the Japanese market only. And if you are in Japan and wondering why you can’t find it on the McDonald’s menu, that’s because it didn’t taste very good and didn’t stick around for very long. The combination of odd flavors and poor marketing was what led the McCroquette to its ultimate demise. Although, it must have had few fans out there because you can actually find recipes online providing directions on how to recreate the Croquette at home. Although, we’re pretty sure there are so many better ways to use macaroni, mashed potatoes, and shrimp. But if you want to give it a shot, we aren’t going to stop you. And please, let us know how it turns out!
4. Angus Burger
The Angus burger from McDonald’s was a history-making burger when it was introduced back in 2006. When it hit the menu, it became the first burger made with Angus beef to ever be sold at any fast food restaurant. Because of the higher quality of the beef, this is actually a historical mark that McDonald’s is pretty proud of. The problem was, though, that because of this higher quality, the burger ended up costing more than others on the menu. We’re talking about $4 more. Now, while that doesn’t sound like a lot, it is when compared to the rest of the menu. When a customer can get one Angus burger or three or four other burgers off the dollar menu, what do you think most people are going to do? The burger had a good run, but by 2013 the higher price point made it so that McDonald’s had to put the Angus Burger out to pasture. While it was a good tasting burger and had its fans, the chain would probably like us all to forget it ever existed. Probably because they would rather we don’t think about the fact that they could be giving us higher-quality meat if they wanted to. Which, in turn, reminds us that the meat they are serving is only as good as it can be to keep the crazy low prices they do.
3. Big N’ Tasty
Not to be confused with Big Tasty – Barry Goldberg’s self-given nickname on The Goldbergs, the Big N’ Tasty was a hamburger introduced by McDonald’s back in 1997. At the time, it was introduced just in California to go with the opening of Disney’s California Adventure theme park. But a few years later, in 2000, the burger made its national debut right across the country. It was moved on and off the dollar menu and hung around until about 2011 when it was phased out for good. There was nothing really wrong with this hamburger, which is why it was able to last over a decade on the menu. However, one of the main reasons for its creation was an attempt by McDonald’s to go head to head with the great and powerful Whopper over at Burger King. And in that way, the Big N’ Tasty failed! Mickey D’s has made a few attempts to go directly after the Whopper, and so far, they haven’t worked. But, if you want to give the Big N’ Tasty a try, you can basically recreate one using items still available on the menu at your local McDonald’s. First, you order a Quarter Pounder with Cheese – of course, you will call it a Royale with Cheese and hope the person serving you isn’t so young they don’t remember Pulp Fiction. Then you ask for it without ketchup or mustard and add lettuce, onion, and tomato. Now ask for some special Big Mac sauce and BBQ sauce (for the smokiness). Mix the sauces on the burger, and voila! That’s pretty much the Big N’ Tasty.
2. Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich
Even if you were around in 1979 when this item was introduced, you still might not have gotten to try it. First off, it was a test run, and second, it was only served between 4 and 9 pm. Now, while they called it a sandwich, this item was really a long burger. A long beef patty on a long bun served with onions and steak sauce. It sounds good, right? Well, according to reports, it was good. In fact, people were even calling it the greatest sandwich the restaurant ever made. So, what happened? Well, after a few years in test mode, McDonald’s made the decision to discontinue it rather than moving it to the regular menu. It would appear that, like the failed Angus burger, the reason the Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich didn’t work was the price. At the time, it cost $1.29. While it sounds cheap today, a regular McD’s burger used to cost 40 cents, so you do the math. It was also pulled off the menu because it was originally intended to accompany the gone-but-not-forgotten Onion Nuggets. Without the nuggets, it didn’t make much sense to keep it on the menu.
1. Fried Roast Beef Sandwich
Burger King isn’t the only restaurant that McDonald’s has competed with over the years. Back in 1969, the home of the Big Mac introduced a Fried Roast Beef Sandwich to compete with Arby’s. The menu item consisted of sliced beef on a sesame seed roll served with barbeque sauce on the side. Sounds like the perfect choice to go up against Arby’s with – and as a bonus, customers really liked it as well. So, what happened with this one? Well, rolling this one out nationwide would have required the company to put meat slicers in all the restaurants. Which they decided wasn’t cost-efficient. So, yet again, we have another item that customers loved, but McDonald’s deemed to not be financially viable. To that, we say, really? How much could a meat slicer cost? And if they really were as good as we have heard, wouldn’t that cost be made up in sales rather quickly? Also, if you know that meat slicers aren’t viable, then why create the sandwich in the first place and tease people with something that they can’t have – or can’t have, again! Not cool, Ronald! Not cool!