McDonald’s is obviously a very successful fast food chain that spans the globe with more than 37,000 restaurant locations. But even the most successful companies get it wrong sometimes and the folks at the Golden Arches are no exception. Although some customers loved items like McPizza and McHotDogs most did not.
10. On The Wings Of A Clown
Mighty Wings were a version of chicken wings, but not McDonald’s only version of wings. The fast food chain also sells McWings at some of its international locations. Mighty Wings were first introduced in 1990 and were taken off the market in 2003. Mighty Wings were put back on the menu in 2013, but proved to be not so mighty only lasting about a year. The fast food giant bought as much as 50 million pounds of frozen wings to launch the Mighty Wings promotion. McDonald’s described these wings as having, “bold, spicy breading,” but this boldness was not enough to convince customers that they had to have these wings. Some of the reviews from the time were favorable. You could get Mighty Wings in orders 3, 5 or 10. The 3 piece order cost $2.99 which many people considered to be too expensive. Much like their little cousins the McNuggets customers had a choice of dipping sauces that included BBQ and Sweet and Sour. McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets have been a big hit for decades, but Mighty Wings crashed to Earth after a short time because they really don’t make sense in a world with McNuggets. CBS news reported that McDonald’s was left with more than 10 million pounds of the unwanted chicken wings. If you really want chicken wings there are plenty of places that literally make it their business to make great wings.
9. Hot & Cold Concoction
The McDLT from McDonald’s was one of the fast food chain’s better ideas. A fresh beef patty on one side and cheese, cool lettuce and tomato on the other. After you bought it you put the two sides together and enjoyed the freshness. A McDonald’s executive explained it well: “The packaging of the sandwich thus played an integral role; a two-part container had one side keeping the warm elements warm, and the other side keeping the cold ones cold. The customer would then put the two together.” This items’ downfall was the Styrofoam packaging needed to make it work. Styrofoam packaging in general ran afoul of the environmental movement in the late 1990s and so the McDLT was discontinued in 1998. As you probably know Styrofoam is barely used today, and a tasty sandwich was discontinued for good. With advances in technology you would think McDonald’s could make it work. Perhaps the most notable thing about the McDLT was the marketing campaign. It included a television commercial featuring a younger Jason Alexander of Seinfeld sitcom fame where the actor played George Costanza. This commercial is not very memorable unless you happen to be a fan of Seinfeld, but the McDLT was a good sandwich and customers should have the option of ordering it. It’s hard to believe our high-tech world hasn’t come up with convenient packaging that can replace Styrofoam and allow the McDLT to make a comeback.
One of the commercials for McDonald’s Fish McBites tells the viewer they will only be available for a limited time. Maybe McDonald’s should have had more confidence in this bite – sized product and marketed it more aggressively from the start. Deep fried fish “nuggets” made with Alaskan Pollock and served with tartar sauce for dipping seems like an item that could work as well as the Fillet-O-Fish sandwich. If Chicken McNuggets can be a big hit than why not Fish McBites? Maybe these should have been sold along with the also defunct Onion Nuggets (see item #1.) A reviewer for brand eating.com gave Fish McBites a solid review and he admitted that he doesn’t even eat fish so this is a pretty strong endorsement. In the era of eating on the go you’d think the bites would have ended up being even more popular than the classic sandwich, but that didn’t happen. The reviewer’s chief complaint at eating.com was that the little portions are relatively expensive when compared to other fast food snacks. The Filet-o-Fish sandwich has remained popular and it has been around for decades, but customers can be fickle sometimes. For whatever reason most customers who like the fish sandwich could not embrace McDonald’s Fish McBites.
7. Chinese Takeout
The story of McDonald’s Szechuan sauce begins in 1998 when it was released as part of a promotional tie-in with Disney’s animated movie, Mulan. Then, on April Fools Day 2o17 the Szechuan sauce was mentioned on the animated television series Rick and Morty. According to McDonald’s this had been intended only as a throw away line, but customers expected to get their hands on the coveted sauce so the fast food chain released a statement promising that the sauce would be available on October 1. Fans of the sauce inundated their local McDonald’s, but the small supply of sauce quickly ran out. In 2018 some McDonald’s locations reported that the sauce is available with the purchase of McNuggets. Now with Disney’s new live-action Mulan the drama has started up again, but this time some are calling for the sauce to NOT be released in conjunction with the movie. Somehow a Chinese themed condiment might be politically incorrect in some way, but the reasoning remains obscure. The reason why people care so much about this Szechuan sauce is also hard to understand, but if people want it how hard would it be for McDonald’s to make a big supply of the little packets of sauce? Sweet & Sour sauce, for example is readily available at all McDonald’s so it could be the same way with Szechuan sauce.
6. Buenas Dias
McDonald’s short lived Spanish Omelet Bagel feels a little like a clash of culinary cultures, but putting that aside it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. The fast food chain has done very well with its traditional breakfast menu including the Egg McMuffin, Hot Cakes and Sausage, Hash Browns and more recently the McGriddle. The Spainih Omelet Bagel was a fairly simple recipe of ham, cheese, egg and of course a bagel. Probably the most interesting thing about this breakfast sandwich was the creamy dill mustard. This sounds like it would provide an enjoyable tangy flavor to the other ingredients. It seems like this would be a good seller, perhaps not as big a hit as the iconic Egg McMuffin, but still a success. The existing breakfast sandwiches from the Egg McMuffin to the biscuit sandwiches and McGriddles already provide a wide variety of choices for customers. Unfortunately for customers who embraced the Spanish Omelet Bagel in 2000 they were to be disappointed. McDonald’s was unhappy with the sluggish sales of this breakfast sandwich and discontinued it after a short run. Maybe McDonald’s will try again with this breakfast sandwich at some point. Some customers pointed out that it wasn’t spicy enough so if the fast food chain fixes that issue perhaps the Spanish Omelet Bagel could be a hit the second time around.
Everyone knows that McDonald’s is world famous for its hamburgers. The people at McDonald’s seemed to forget this idea when they decided the fast food chain needed to offer the McHotDog. McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc had the right idea when he forbid the sale of hot dogs because, “there’s no telling what’s inside a hot dog’s skin.” Despite the late founder’s reasonable objections the fast food chain started selling the McHotDog in some midwest locations in 1995. They were discontinued after a few years and came back to other locations for a time. The hot dogs proved to be more popular in Japan where they enjoyed a pretty good run. For some reason the Japanese restaurants shifted them form the lunch menu to the breakfast menu. They are also popular at the SkyDome baseball stadium in Toronto, Canada It’s probably not a good sign for the McHotDog that the Internet is full of memes devoted to this particular menu item. Many of them refer to the hot dogs as “weiners” and point out the comic possibilities. Some people say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but there’s a difference between laughing with you and laughing at you. The point is moot anyway because the McHotDog has mostly slipped away and is only available in a few locations spread around the world.
4. Bullish On The McJordan
McDonald’s McJordan Special wasn’t just one menu item it was actually a value meal that consisted of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese with the addition of bacon and barbecue sauce plus French Fries and a drink. As probably the best basketball player who ever played the game it makes sense that McDonald’s would want to take advantage of Michael Jordan’s notoriety with a tasty addition to its menu. After all, New York Yankee baseball great Reggie Jackson had a candy bar with his name on it. Michael Jordan was a much bigger star than Jackson, especially in 1992 when the Chicago Bulls had just won their second championship in a row and the NBA Dream team was rampaging over all the teams at the Barcelona Olympic Games. This seemed like the perfect time for a Jordan meal. Even without Michael Jordan’s name on this value meal it seems like it would be a popular item at McDonald’s. The fast food chain could have renamed it something else if it didn’t want to keep the basketball star’s name on it. What about the McBarbecue Burger or the McBull with Cheese? Bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce are no brainers so there is no reason for McDonald’s to not try bringing it back for another try.
3. Strawberry McFlurries Forever
The McFlurry has been a popular addition to McDonald’s dessert menu for a while now. We’ve probably all had the fast food company’s sundae’s, fruit pies and if you’re old enough, the classic McDonaldland Cookies that used to be included in Happy Meals. McDonald’s decided it was time for a new McFlurry flavor and they chose Strawberry Shortcake. Fresh strawberries and crispy pieces of golden brown shortcake sounds like it should be a winner. Unfortunately, this McFlurry was not to last forever. In fact, this McFlurry only lasted a very short time before being discontinued because of disappointing sales. Maybe part of the problem was that for a relatively small dessert the Strawberry Shortcake McFlurry would cost you 474 calories with 14 grams of fat. This flavor of McFlurry just didn’t get good reviews from customers. Customers stuck with the already popular McFlurry flavors such as M&M, Oreo and Snickers. It seems like there should have been room for one more flavor especially since strawberry shortcake is traditionally a popular dessert. Maybe if McDonald’s had offered it only in the summer months when people tend to eat the tasty dessert it would have done better. A seasonal treat makes sense in the same way McDonald’s only offers the mint flavored Shamrock Shake for a brief time in March around the St. Patricks Day holiday.
McDonald’s has enjoyed a lot of success, but even the most successful among us occasionally take a tumble. Unfortunately the fast food juggernaut fell flat on its face when it made the fateful decision to add McPizza to the menu in the 1980s. McDonald’s is good at making burgers: the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Double Cheese Burger etc. It also has had success with its Chicken McNuggets and some chicken sandwiches. The Golden French Fries are world famous and they even make a pretty decent sundae with soft-serve ice cream. With all these popular items it seems like McDonald’s just got greedy when they convinced themselves McPizza was a good idea. It’s not that McPizza was bad, it was ok, but why make ok pizza when you’re the number one hamburger and fries fast food chain in the world? One drawback of pizza versus burgers and fries is that baking a pizza takes a certain amount of time. It usually takes at least 10-15 minutes to bake a pizza so customers were going to have to wait a certain amount of time. McDonald’s tried to mitigate this by bringing the pizza to your table hot out of the oven, but what if you intended to order it at the drive thru? Today, customers would probably have the option of preordering a pizza on an app and pick it hen it’s ready. The situation just wasn’t in line with the McDonald’s philosophy of quick and consistent service. Even though a lot of customers liked the pizza, in the 1990s the fast food chain decided that it wasn’t working out and discontinued it. However, as of 2019, customers in the Orlando area could still get McPizza at their local McDonald’s.
Burger King has had onion rings on their menu for decades, but McDonald’s experiment with a tasty fried treat called Onion Nuggets was not quite as successful. McDonald’s tried their hand at deep fried onions using little chunks instead of rings. These little onion “nuggets” seem like a good idea – especially when we know Chicken McNuggets became such a big hit. The Onion Nuggets actually seem like they’d make a good side to go with the Chicken McNuggets. McDonald’s could have sold them together when the chain introduced Chicken McNuggets in 1980. Onion Nuggets were only tried in 4 test markets in the 1970s before the fast food giant decided they wouldn’t be a hit and discarded the idea. Maybe the problem was that McDonald’s French Fries continue to be so popular customers just weren’t motivated to try something that seemed like a replacement. If this was true it says something about the fast food chain’s fries, but it might also say something about the company’s ability to market something. These should have had some potential for success; maybe they would have had a better chance if customers could gotten an assortment of fries and Onion Nuggets in one order. That way customers could try the new product, but still get the fries they love. Another issue might have been that they deep fried coating makes the onions seem even more high calorie than fries, but onion rings, such as the ones Burger King offers, are lower in calories than fries. Fast food chains put out a lot of questionable items, but it seems like Onion Nuggets one should have worked – it’s too bad they didn’t.