McDonald’s has made no secret that it is trying new ideas with its “core” menu items. It’s testing three sizes of the Big Mac. It’s trying out fresh ground beef for its Quarter Pounder with Cheese. But what about those “World Famous French Fries”?
Here, McDonald’s is trying flavored Gilroy Garlic Fries in San Francisco, but in Australia, McDonald’s just added Gravy Loaded Fries, its third topped-fries item, joining Guacamole & Salsa and Bacon & Cheese Sauce Loaded Fries. That’s national, but today through Sunday one Sydney, Australia, McDonald’s—dubbed the “#Fries With That” restaurant—is testing an even wider variety of topping choices for those famous fries.
It’s another expression of the customization idea behind the “Create Your Taste” build-a-burger initiative. In addition to Gravy, the “Loaded Fries Menu” getting a tryout includes six new sauces (plus Gravy): Chipotle Cheese Sauce; Peri Peri Cheese Sauce; Sweet Chilli & Sour Cream; Pesto Mayo & Parmesan; Curry; and Caesar Sauce, Bacon & Parmesan. Note that the neither Guacamole & Salsa nor Bacon & Cheese, available nationally, are included ion the list.
The test puts McDonald’s ahead of the current loaded-fries trend wave. There are lots of loaded fries, but the choice-of-sauce option is a new approach. Loaded fries have caught on fast. They’re popular with younger diners and sport good profit margins. Krystal added Loaded-Up Country Fries earlier this year (fries, country gravy and crumbled bacon) and Red Robin tried Voodoo Fries (blackened seasoning and a ghost chili sauce). Johnny Rockets has done Philly Cheesesteak Loaded Street Fries and Smoked Cheddar Pulled Pork Tater Tots; Wendy’s has its ghost pepper Ghost Fries. And in Canada, of course, both McDonald’s and Burger King offer traditional gravy-cheese-curds-and fries poutine.