McRib and Dollar Menu Revamped to Help Lagging McDonald's Sales

McDonald’s made headlines last March for removing fries and drinks from their famous Dollar Menu; an effort to increase revenue. But, that was then.

In October, McDonald’s profits shrank 1.8% globally and 2.2% in the United States – the first time the chain has seen a decrease in sales since 2003. 

Now the restaurant is reversing course, once again beefing up its Dollar Menu items with new options.

Rejoice: the new Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger, which is essentially a smaller, baconless version of a limited-edition premium sandwich, will cost just $1. The decisively less appetizing-sounding Fish McBites (popcorn chicken, except with McDonald’s “fish”) will also be added to the dollar menu.

McDonald’s also apparently tried to push franchisees to accept a price drop for hamburgers and cheeseburgers to $0.69 and $0.89 respectively, but local chain operators feared that the burgers would then be too cheap. 

As Time explains, the move is interesting for several reasons – especially when considering competitors who are raising prices and pushing premium products. (Starbucks, for example, now offers a $7 coffee.) The consensus among many analysts is that McDonald’s recent addition of higher-quality sandwiches offered at a higher price caused the company to stray “too far from the value message that made it popular.” 

Some, however, question whether the ubiquitousness of the Dollar Menu hurts McDonald’s premium sandwich sales. 

“Who would pay $4.79 for a sandwich when the two sandwiches on the Dollar Menu are perfectly good?” analyst Richard Adams told Nation’s Restaurant News. “It’s just the math. The more you raise prices, the more you encourage people to buy off the Dollar Menu.” 

In another move to boost sales, the infamous McRib – a limited edition sandwich with a fanatical fanbase – will be reappearing on the McDonald’s menu soon, and is already available in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. 

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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