As an international chain, McDonald’s understands that it needs to make some concessions and alterations to its menus to appeal to varying tastes. For consumers in its home country, those variations are unavailable though, leaving U.S. fast-foodies yearning for the McVegan burger that Finnish consumers can enjoy.
In global settings, people quickly learn about these options, whether because they tried a Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger on their last visit to Spain or because their friends in Hong Kong brag about how good the McSpicy Chicken sandwich is. For many years, U.S. consumers have been asking McDonald’s to make these variations more easily accessible to them, rather than requiring a passport to try them.
Finally, it appears that the fast food chain has agreed. In the huge restaurant housed in its Chicago-area headquarters, the rotating menu includes international favorites for limited times. The store is open to the public, so local fans can stop by to see which food and drink items are being featured that month. In addition, McDonald’s has announced plans to test four international items, including a Stroopwafel McFlurry (originally introduced in the Netherlands) and BBQ McShaker Fries (originally from Malaysia) in 50 restaurants in south Florida.
For U.S. consumers living nowhere near Chicago or Florida, these offerings provide little consolation. McDonald’s has no plans to make these “Flavors from Abroad” part of its permanent U.S. menu. But the experiments suggest that it recognizes that even in a single country, its customers have some pretty diverse tastes.
- Should McDonald’s offer international menu items more broadly or permanently? Why or why not?
- What lessons might the company learn from these limited rollouts?
Source: Mike Pomranz, “McDonald’s Tests Four International Menu Items in U.S. Stores,” Food & Wine, September 6, 2018.