McDonald’s has come up with some iconic food items. But not every new product can be the next Big Mac. The fast food chain has come up with some strange food items in its over sixty years. Sometimes, the weird works. Other times, it ends up costing the restaurant a lot more than it’s worth. Here are ten examples of times McDonald’s took risks with new food items that ultimately ended in discontinuation.
10. Eggs Benedict McMuffin
Brunch is in. There’s nothing trendier than going out with the gang on a Sunday morning for crepes, waffles, and, one of the most popular brunch dishes out there, Eggs Benedict. There are several different versions of this breakfast food, but the classic Eggs Benedict is made up of an English muffin, poached eggs, bacon, and Hollandaise sauce. This being a breakfast staple, and what a-lot of people would list as their favorite brunch food, you’d think McDonald’s would go all out to release this to the masses. Instead, McDonald’s decided to take on this brunch staple, in what has to be the most unusual way. To “celebrate” the release of the Disney movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire, McDonald’s released an Eggs Benedict McMuffin. In what has to be one of the most head scratching McDonald’s movie tie in promotions, the sandwich just failed to appeal to the masses. If you were looking for the full Eggs Benedict experience, this wasn’t going to cut it. But for those of us who liked the added flavors to our already delicious Egg McMuffins, this sandwich was actually amazing! It’s just too bad this one barely stuck around long enough for most people to even be able to try it.
9. McSalad Shakers
Before McDonald’s current Premium Salad line hit restaurants everywhere, there were McSalad Shakers. This was McDonald’s previous attempt at adding healthier options to their menu, and one they took a rather unconventional approach to. There were three different varieties of McSalad Shakers available: Garden Salad, Chef’s Salad, and Grilled Chicken Salad. They were regular salads, but they were packaged in large, plastic cups instead of bowls. The idea was that this makes it easier to mix your dressing into the salad. Simply pour it in, replace the lid, and shake. You’ve got yourself an evenly dressed salad. Technically, you could still do this with McDonald’s current salads, but their new, more ordinary, packaging makes it way less fun. The fact that these salads were marketed completely on being “shakable” is a little odd, but they get points for originality, right? The McSalad Shakers packaging was also way more convenient for to-go orders, as it could actually fit in your car’s cupholder. Apparently, the fun and convenience weren’t as obvious to everyone else as it is to us, because McSalad Shakers didn’t sell well at all. They were discontinued less than three years after their debut. Now we’re stuck with boring, bulky salads. It’s a real shame.
8. Superhero Burger
McDonald’s Superhero Burger, was released in the mid-nineties as part of a promotion for the infamous film, Batman Forever. That’s not exactly a movie you want something on your menu associated with. Whether or not the fact that the film bombed had anything to do with it, we can’t really say, but the Superhero Burger didn’t get anywhere close to popular. While the film is passionately hated, this burger was just forgettable. The Superhero Burger was a monster of a hamburger. It consisted of lettuce, tomato, two slices of American cheese, and not one, not two, but three beef patties. We’re not sure exactly how it ties into the superhero theme, other than being released around the same time as a Batman movie. It may be due to the fact that it’s packed with protein. All that cheese and hamburger, it’s the kind of thing a superhero would wolf down after a long night of fighting crime. McDonald’s made another attempt to promote super hero burgers over in China. For the 2017 release of the movie “Justice League” McDonald’s in China released 2 super hero burgers, the Superman Burger and the Batwich, both of which looked interesting, but are said to not be the best tasting, which is a shame for all of us McDonald’s and DC comics fans.
To be perfectly honest, we slept on McStuffins and it was a big mistake. This food item had a lot of potential and, if it had been given more of a chance, it might’ve made it big. Unfortunately, McDonald’s didn’t hesitate to end the production of this nineties fast food item when it didn’t sell as well as expected. McStuffins were McDonald’s take on hot pockets, which were all the rage back in the nineties (do people still eat hot pockets? If not, you’re missing out). They were sold in 4 varieties, barbeque style chicken, chicken terikaki, pepperoni pizza and philly beef and cheese. See what we mean when we say this actually sounds good? Despite its promise, McStuffins just weren’t a hit with customers. Why else would you go to McDonald’s but for a burger and fries? Maybe hot pockets just weren’t what clients were looking for. To be fair, it’s kind of a weird thing for a fast food restaurant to be selling. Lack of popularity could also be attributed to the name, which definitely needed another couple of rounds on the drawing board, or the advertising which wasn’t great, even for the nineties. All that to say, it wouldn’t be the worst thing if McDonald’s felt the urge to revamp their McStuffins.
6. Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich
McDonald’s introduced the Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich in the early eighties and, due to poor sales, pulled it just a few years later. This isn’t all that surprising when you consider everything this sandwich had going against it. It was only available after 4 pm, it was significantly more expensive than a regular burger from McDonald’s, and it was really only ever going to appeal to a very niche audience. Take all that together and, well, this is one discontinuation everyone should have seen coming. The Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich was pitched as a “long burger”, and it resembled a sub more than it did a burger. It actually looked similar to the McRib, just significantly less… wet. The sandwich was made up of a long hamburger patty topped with onions. The condiment? McDonald’s special steak sauce. The restaurant marketed the Chopped Beefsteak Sandwich as the perfect companion for another of their more questionable food items, a side dish known as Onion Nuggets. Onion Nuggets were basically just onion rings in the shape of a chicken nugget. They were eventually discontinued as well. If you ask us, that pairing makes for a lot of onion in one meal, but to each his own.
Many people would agree that fast food is the ultimate comfort food. You know what else is a classic comfort food? Soup. So, in a way, it makes sense that McDonalds would try their hand at soup. But, on the other hand, it was a pretty weird move for a restaurant chain known for its burgers and fries. The McSoup is a perfect example of McDonalds slapping “Mc” in front of the name of a random food item and praying that it’ll pay off. In most cases, this one included, it doesn’t. While some customers didn’t look kindly upon the McSoup, some customers loved it! It is after all, McDonald’s didn’t actually make their own soup, they instead chose to sell Campbells soups. Now Campbell’s does make some great soups, so this one just comes down to personal tastes. If you’re not a big fan of Campbell’s soups, ordering some from McDonald’s isn’t going to change that. But for those of us who loved a piping hot Campbell’s soup to go along with our McDonald’s, this discontinuation, was a hard one to accept.
4. Hula Burger
The Hula Burger takes the cake as the weirdest product McDonalds – or any fast food chain, for that matter – has ever come up with. All we have to say is you should be very grateful that the Beyond Beef burgers of this day and age are what they are. Because, in the sixties, this was the best they could come up with. The Hula Burger was released as a vegetarian alternative that could be enjoyed by during Lent, a period when practicing Catholics are supposed to cut meat from their diet. In between the Hula Burger’s regular hamburger buns were two pieces of American cheese and a thick slice of grilled… pineapple. Yes, like the tropical fruit. In between bread and cheese. If you thought Hawaiian pizza was bad, the Hula Burger is on a whole other level. Mushrooms, black beans, and tofu are one thing, but pineapple? Not the first thing that comes to mind when you think “meat alternative”. No one is surprised to hear that this original veggie burger was not a roaring success. As weird as it is, we can’t help but wonder what the Hula Burger would taste like. Who knows, maybe we’d be pleasantly surprised. Probably not, but maybe.
Once sold in New England and parts of Canada, this now unavailable food item looked out of place on the McDonalds menu. The McLobster was a seasonal menu item, sold only during the summer months. It was basically McDonald’s take on the lobster roll. The McLobster was definitely off-brand for the fast food chain, but it got surprisingly popular after its release in the early nineties. It’s not the Big Mac or anything, but the McLobster has its fans. A cult following, if you will. The McLobster was made up of a giant hotdog bun stuffed with Atlantic lobster, shredded lettuce and a specialty “lobster sauce.” It’s by no means the best lobster roll on the east coast but, considering it’s from McDonald’s, the consensus is that the McLobster exceeded expectations. That being said, this food item really came out of nowhere. Seeing lobster on the McDonald’s menu was confusing to say the least. But still, fans of the sandwich highly anticipated the McLobster’s return each year. Unfortunately, in the mid-2010s, these fans were let down hard. Lobster prices saw a significant increase, and McDonald’s couldn’t justify bringing it back. It recently made its big comeback on the Canadian scene, but it continues to be elusive in the United States. Whether or not it’ll return to American menus remains to be seen. It’s definitely not McDonald’s most popular menu, but there are people who would be disappointed if this really is the end of the McLobster.
2. Arch Deluxe
More than once, McDonald’s has tried to class up their menu. Despite their efforts to provide a higher tier of menu options, customers keep on going back to the classic burgers and nuggets. The Arch Deluxe was a burger released in the nineties and pitched as a burger for adults. Because, you know, once you pass age 18, you become too good for the Big Mac. So, what exactly does an adult burger look like? The Arch Deluxe consisted your traditional burger ingredients, like a hamburger patty, cheese, lettuce, and tomato, but it also had some swankier ingredients, like a potato sesame bun, a circular slice of peppered bacon, and a special mustard sauce thrown into the mix. The burger itself doesn’t sound half bad, but the marketing was bordering on pretentious. And speaking of marketing, McDonald’s spend over $300 million on advertising the Arch Deluxe. In the end, that hefty investment did not end up paying off for the golden arches. Failed ad campaign aside, a lot of people did really love this burger, as it was a unique item on the menu. That said not enough people were willing to give it a shot at the time, and a re-release under the name Archburger years later did not take off either. This unicorn of the McDonald’s menu might just be gone forever now.
Between McSalads, McSoup, McLobster, and now McSpaghetti, it feels like we’re in some bizarre cooking show and Grey’s Anatomy crossover episode. Yes, you heard right, McDonald’s once tried their hand at spaghetti. Not only that, but McSpaghetti wasn’t even their only pasta dish. Even though pasta is a relatively simple, quick to prepare meal option, it’s a bit of a stretch to try to sell it under the “fast food” label. And yet, back in the seventies, McDonald’s tried very hard to pull It off. They released three pasta dishes – lasagne, fettuccine alfredo, and spaghetti and tomato sauce. These Italian meals were part of the restaurant’s new dinner menu. The fact that you probably never knew that McDonald’s ever had a dinner menu tells you how well that went. The dinner menu was nixed, and the pasta went with it. Full, sit-down meals just aren’t what people are looking for when they go to a restaurant like McDonald’s. That said, the McSpagetti was actually well liked by a lot of people! McDonald’s take on the dish was simple but had it’s own flavor that some people really enjoyed. This remains true to this day, as even though McDonald’s has long discontinued the McSpagetti in America, it’s still a fan favorite at McDonald’s locations in the Philipines! We hope this means we might see this one back in America some day!