Love it or hate it, Mcdonald’s is here to stay. And whether you have a table with your name unofficially on it in your favorite Mcdonald’s outlet, or you haven’t been to the place in a long time, there are certain menu items that you still remember either fondly or not. Truth is, every now and then Mcdonald’s would surprise us with an item that would leave us gobsmacked. And by the time you collect your jaw off the floor, that item has vanished. Just like that. No word of explanation given. So even if you were starting to get secretly attached to said item, poof it’s gone. And then you’re left with nothing but memories of all the good times you shared together and all the fireworks it ignited on your tongue. Or it could be quite the opposite. The food item could be just a monstrosity that would make you throw a fit every time you saw it on the menu. Maybe it’s something that was the topic of many a heated debate among the fast food chain fans. Whatever they are, these items still invoke memories among us chicken nugget-guzzling patrons of this fine establishment. Items like:
10. McSalad Shakers
Salad in a tall transparent cup with a lid like a dome, what could possibly go wrong? Nothing. This was Mcdonald’s way to celebrate the new millennium. Back in 2000, this innovative way to eat salad arrived at every outlet in the country. Maybe it was Mcdonald’s trying to encourage people to eat more salads. Or maybe the customers were just bored with the unwieldy bowls of salad that they’ve been served so far. This new approach was nothing less of revolutionary. You opened the lid and piled up your favorite dressings as you went along. When done you replaced the domed lid and gave it a hearty shake to spread the yummy goo all over the green bits. Sounds easy and fun? And it definitely was. People started ordering the McSalad Shakers and shaking them all over the place. Not only was this new way to eat salad more enjoyable, the portable packages made it easy to carry salad with you wherever you went. On a flight, in a taxi, while commuting, or just take it home. Salad became everyone’s favorite companion thanks to this novel idea. And just like that, three years later, it was off the menu. No more cute cups of salad for us.
9. Arch Deluxe
Arch Deluxe was Mcdonald’s attempt to reimage itself as a place for grownups. Ronald Mcdonald and the kid play area in the stores were associating the brand with children. So how do you appeal to adults who don’t have kids to steer them to the entrance of the arched potato fries? Enter Arch Deluxe. The answer that adults all over the country have been waiting for. It’s sophistication in the form of a sandwich. Even the marketing campaign targeting adult customers showed children turning away from this sophisticated food item. And if you’re wondering how showing customers shun a product would help market it especially with a brand that has never been remotely associated with culinary sophistication as Mcdonald’s, your guess is as good as mine. It turns out the kids got it right. This item which was really nothing more than a potato sesame bun with a roundish slice of bacon and some peculiar mustard didn’t do the trick. Adults still went with the chicken nuggets and the Big Macs leaving the pricey and high-calorie Arch Deluxe behind. Now when we remember it, it’s with amusement and nothing else.
8. Big N Tasty
This was Mcdonald’s answer to Burger King’s Whooper. Competition runs deep between the fast food giants. And when a food item works somewhere, there’s no shame in borrowing the idea, repackaging it and offering it to your own customers. Not that we, the customers, are complaining. Back in 1997, this new addition to the Ronald Mcdonald’s menu was added to celebrate the opening of a theme park in California called Disney’s California Adventure. The theme park hit it big among the Californians but Big N Tasty didn’t. Californication proving too elusive for the new food item, Big N Tasty moved beyond state lines and later spread on the global scene under a different name. Worldwide it was known as Big Tasty, having dropped the N. But that too didn’t impress the customers. So the item started to make cameo appearances on the dollar menu. Just think about that for a second. A quarter-pound beef meat patty in a sesame seed bun along with tomato, lettuce, dill pickle slices, onions, mayonnaise, and ketchup, all for one dollar. Sounds like a dream. But in 2003, it was replaced on the dollar menu by the Double Cheeseburger. Finally in 2011, Big N Tasty was no more. It still lives in our memory, though, which probably says something about its replacement.
When borrowing ideas from your competitors doesn’t work, maybe you should try getting inspiration from different cuisines altogether. Like, say, Italian. In the late 80s, Mcdonald’s ventured into the sauce-soaked world of Italian food. McSpaghetti was just one idea. There was also McPizza. And you can guess why neither of them has survived even as a faded memory in our collective conscience today. They were just not good. Let’s leave it at that. When you come for the burger and fries, then having to wait for a dish that takes too long to prepare isn’t going to go down well with the customers. Which is what happened to the Italian-flavored McSpaghetti. Another reason for the short-lived experiment not taking off was the competition. Italian restaurants offered much more variety, flavors, and originality than the Mcdonald’s knockoff. Try to imagine it, burger and spaghetti? They don’t go together, do they? Which is exactly why the Italian-inspired menu disappeared from the stores just as quickly as they appeared. But if you find yourself one day in the Philippines, you can still order a McSpaghetti and see for yourself if it was really a good idea to serve pasta in a Mcdonald’s outlet or not.
6. Hula Burger
Here’s another product that was targetting a niche market. In this case, the niche market was the Catholic market. Since Catholics over 14 shouldn’t eat meat on Fridays, the chain was having slow days in predominantly Catholic areas. Something had to be done. If you can’t bring the faithful Catholics to Mcdonald’s on Fridays, then take an alternative food item to the Catholics as a compromise. And that’s when the idea for Hula Burger was born. The recipe was simple. Take out the meat and replace it with a slice of pineapple. Oh, and the pineapple is grilled of course. Stuff it with cheese in a bun and it becomes a non-meat alternative to a regular burger. Or so they hoped anyway. Because it very much wasn’t. You can grill pineapple as much as you like but it will never taste like a juicy slab of beef. Just ask any carnivore. Eventually, the company realized that it would take more than pineapple and cheese to seduce the faithful and pulled the vegetarian burger off the market. Now we don’t have to think about it. Or maybe just a little.
Lobster is delicious seafood. I think most of us can agree on that. And when you want to eat lobster you usually head to a seafood restaurant and gorge yourself on the delicate morsels of lobster meat. What you don’t do however is go to a Mcdonald’s and order a lobster sandwich. It just doesn’t sound right. But perhaps out of boredom, someone decided to give the McLobster the green light and see how people would take it. So what was the McLobster? It’s a hot dog bun stuffed with lobster meat and special sauce. And in 1993 was selling for $6. Sounds like a deal, right? Not really. At first. people clamored to try the novel item on the menu. Probably they were propelled by the other seafood item called Fillet-O-Fish which as a meat alternative was flying off the shelves. But unlike the Fillet-O-Fish, the lobster variety didn’t really catch up even with the special sauce which itself was probably a variety of ketchup. Today you can still order McLobster in New England and Canada where the lobster supply is plentiful.
4. Angus Third-Pounder
It is well known that Macdonald’s take their time when introducing new food items to their menu. Sometimes they’d go for years running the same menu. Maybe it’s because they believe that if it’s not broken why fix it. And in the case of Angus Third-Pounder, they were probably right. It was the first addition to the menu since Big N Tasty had made its appearance in 2001. Angus Third-Pounder was born in 2009. Right from the start, it boasted a few tantalizing factors that were guaranteed to make it a success. It had full slices of bacon, a rarity in the fast food world, and it also came loaded with glorious rings of red onions. The idea behind it was bigger was better. After all, a third pounder is larger than a quarter pounder. And since the Quarter Pounder was crushing it, then obviously the third pounder would rule supreme. Only it didn’t. Thanks to the size and full slice of bacon, the Angus Third-Pounder was more expensive than other items on the menu like the Big Mac and the Quarter Pounder. It was selling at $4.49 and that was enough to turn off consumers. In 2013 it was phased out in American outlets even though it remains popular in countries like Australia and Argentina.
This one is a real classic. It first appeared in 1984. And it wasn’t just the sandwich itself which was innovative, but also the packaging was quite elaborate and, let’s just say, complex. The McDLT belongs to the same family as Big N Tasty but was a decade older. But unlike Big N Tasty, McDLT really took the innovation in packaging a bit too far. The styrofoam box that contained the McDLT had two containers. One for the cold ingredients and the other for the hot ingredients. The idea was you used those ingredients to build your own custom sandwich. Use as much as you like of each container to make the sandwich that suited you. Sounds revolutionary, right? In fact, it was really out there, that it had done away with the main rule that made fast food appealing to people. It’s the rule of pre-made and prepackaged food. A sandwich is something you unwrap and set your teeth into. Not something you have to assemble. That simple oversight was enough to doom the McDLT almost from the getgo. Another issue was the custom boxes. Styrofoam isn’t exactly environmentally friendly and the pile of waste grew with every sandwich sold. So after long 7 years, McDLT was finally shelved in 1991 to the great relief of environmentalists everywhere.
2. Onion Nuggets
If you like onion and chicken nuggets you’re going to love this one. Who knows; maybe after you finish reading this you’d take to the internet and call for its immediate return. In the late 1970s, McDonald’s decided to roll out this revolutionary concept and see how the customers reacted. Onion Nuggets were just diced onions mixed with bread and fried. In other words, the onion was getting the chicken nuggets treatment and it was loving it. The only problem was, the customers didn’t agree. The idea somehow seemed good only on paper. During the testing stages of the new food item, the customers simply loathed the product. The company went ahead anyway and the product didn’t do quite as expected once it hit the menu. It was discontinued in the 80s, but rumor has it that a sample of the now-defunct Onion Nuggets still survives in Elk Grove, Illinois. We assume it’s kept under maximum security and no visitors are allowed to even set their eyes on that relic of culinary innovation. To this day, you’ll find people calling for the return of Onion Nuggets.
1. Orange Hi-C
The last item on our list might still be fresh in your memory. Especially the heartbreak it caused to millions of people who enjoyed that very soda. People just loved their burger with Orange Hi-C. And when it was discontinued, not only did the customers complain, but even the staff at McDonald’s outlets were still moaning about it months after it has disappeared. To this day, many people are mystified by McDonald’s decision to remove such a popular beverage from their menu. At the time the company had said that Orange Hi-C was to be replaced by another soda. Namely, Sprite TropicBerry. But the replacement process wasn’t a smooth one. Many outlets kept serving Orange Hi-C until they’d run out of stock. In fact, people loved their Hi-C so much that they would go to the stores that still sold it. Since its disappearance from the menu, many petitions have appeared online asking for the return of this orange soda. Whether that will happen or not remains unknown, but one thing is for sure: people did enjoy their orange beverage with their sandwiches. Who can blame them?