McDonald’s European operations have a longstanding crush on New York City. The NYCrispy burger arrived in Spain in 2009. In 2010, its Czech stores were featuring burgers named for city boroughs like the Brooklyn Classic and McDonald’s Germany had cupcakes named for SoHo, Chelsea and other neighborhoods. That same year, the Czech operators introduced the Manhattan Grilled Chicken and SoHo Grande.
Now McDonald’s in France has launched a “New York Street Food” menu (available April 19 through May 30, 2016) that it claims are “recipes inspired by New York street food.” I’m not a New Yorker, mind you, but these don’t strike me as New York foods.
Start with the Grilled Cheese & Bacon, a double-patty burger on round toast. This is “A true American croque monsieur McDonald’s way.” Have I missed the croque monsieur carts in Midtown?
Online marketing materials explain that The Original Sweet Mustard is “A generous burger with a delicious mustard sauce and honey, typical of New York street food.” And what could more Big Apple than hot potato chips? The McDonald’s menu has them to “give us the impression of enjoying true New Yorker meals.”
And just in time for the demise of McWrap on the U.S. menu, the French market’s salute to New York includes Cheese McWrap: “The perfect balance between freshness and delicacy.” It has breaded and fried cheese nuggets, lettuce and tomato in a tortilla wrap. SO New York.
For those big, New York-style appetites there is La Boite à Partager (The Box for Sharing), slightly reconfigured for the promotion to include three breaded cheese nuggets, three Chicken Sticks, six Chicken McNuggets and a new Bacon & Onion sauce.
Bon appétit, New York!
In the U.S., McDonald’s has confirmed that it is testing both larger and smaller versions of its core Big Mac burger.
According to the Associated Press, the chain is testing a smaller (one patty) Mac Jr. as well as a Grand Mac with two one-sixth-pound patties (a standard Big Mac has two one-tenth-pound patties). The two are testing in central Ohio (home of Wendy’s) and the Dallas area, reportedly through June 6. Mac Jr. is priced from $2.39 to $2.59; Grand Mac is $4.89. The tests were first reported by Columbus Business First.
Many variations on the Big Mac have been developed by the chain around the globe, including several under the Grand Mac name. Spain enjoyed both a Chicken Big Mac ( a favorite in areas where beef isn’t a prime protein) and a Nuevo Grand Big Mac Bacon. McDonald’s in Japan has done the multi-patty Mega Mac and, most recently, the Giga Mac. Australia has seen the Angus Big Mac; Germany the 45% larger Bigger Big Mac
Earlier this year, McDonald’s sold 4,000 bottles of its Big Mac sauce in Australia for $4.99 per bottle. These reportedly were snapped up and offered for sale at $100 or more.
And you’ll recall that Carl’s Jr. in 2009 introduced the Big Carl burger, dubbed the “Big Mac Killer.” Is the Big Carl still around? Exactly.
Speaking of Carl’s Jr., its units in Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County now offer delivery in a new partnership with the DoorDash service, beginning this week. Approximately 20% of the chain’s Southern California locations will take part initially. This is the chain’s first foray into delivery in the U.S.
Orders can be made via Android or iOS apps or online at DoorDash.com. Delivery fees start at $3.99, but the chain is offering free delivery for a short promotional period.
In an interview with The Guardian, McDonald’s UK CEO Paul Pomroy says digital self-order kiosks that already are in some locations will be in 400 restaurants by this fall. Food ordered via the kiosks is brought to customers’ tables. Pomroy says that more than half its customers use the kiosks at the busiest times. The latest kiosks are shown below.
The UK has established a “national living wage” of £7.20 (US $10.37) for workers age 25 and older. McDonald’s will not pay workers younger than 25 that wage but Pomroy says the chain has given everyone a 10% raise (and a 14% increase for those ages 16 to 18). The company also is testing a system of fixed-hour contracts with workers (guaranteeing 4-, 16- or 30-hour weeks) for employees who choose not to continue on zero-hour or flexible contracts.