Bringing a brand-new fast-food item into the world is anything but an exact science. You can do all the planning, field testing, and marketing in the world, but at the end of the day, there’s no way to know whether a new release will sell until it’s unleashed on the public. And few fast-food chains have rolled out as many failed menu items as McDonald’s.
McDonald’s is the largest burger chain in America, and also the one under the most scrutiny. When it rolls out a new menu item, it’s usually met with a huge amount of fanfare as well as a major push to make sure that as many folks as possible are aware of it. So when an item fails, it fails spectacularly and embarrassingly.
Though McDonald’s has a set menu at most of its locations, the chain is continuously testing out new items, usually in a handful of local markets, in order to try to get an idea of how they’d fare nationally. Many items, like the BBQ Chicken, Corn Dog McNuggets, and Catfish Sandwich, never made it past the local testing phase, and some items, like the infamous McLobster roll, are still only on the menu regionally. Some items were tested out seasonally to see how they fared as well, never to return once the season ended. International McDonald’s are even more adventurous, with some truly outrageous creations making it to menus, also meeting with various levels of success.
From a sandwich that caused an international outrage to a handful of misguided forays into completely different styles of cuisine, read on to learn about 15 failed menu items and concepts that McDonald’s would probably prefer you completely forgot about altogether.