McDonald’s made waves this week with the announcement that the return of the McRib, which usually makes its annual limited time appearance on menus in October, will be delayed until late December. (In its place, McDonald’s has chosen to release its Cheddar Bacon Onion Angus Burger.)
Fans of the McRib, of which there are many here at Pavone, aren’t happy about the McWait, but they are happy that their holiday shopping sprees will now be interrupted by repeated visits to a McDonald’s drive-thru.
Recent grumblings aside, the McRib has to be the most anticipated and buzzed about limited edition menu item in the fast food universe. It’s inspired an episode of The Simpsons and its appearances are trackable via the fan-operated “McRib Locator” website. It’s also got a Twitter account, written from the perspective of the sandwich itself. Recent tweets include “Turns out I was pork rib meat all along,” “Don’t you wish Kim Kardashian would go away today instead of me?” and “I get mistaken for Snooki a lot.”
While we wait patiently for the return of America’s favorite processed pork sandwich, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane with a look at four other limited edition or discontinued fast food menu items we’d like to see make a comeback (some more than others). If we’re forgetting any culinary gems, please forgive us … and leave a comment.
The McDonald’s McD.L.T.
in 1985 (and discontinued in 1990), the McD.L.T. promised to keep “the hot side hot, and the cool side cool” thanks to its specially designed and partitioned Styrofoam container. There wasn’t really anything fancy about the burger, but the idea of marketing a menu item based solely on temperature was pretty gutsy. Those TV commercials starring a pre-Seinfeld Jason Alexander were also gutsy, but for different reasons.
The Wendy’s Superbar
The Wendy’s Superbar was, for lack of a better word, pretty super. The all-you-can-eat buffet featured three distinct sections: a salad bar, a taco bar, and an Italian bar, all for one low fast food price. Sounds great, right? Wendy’s customers in the mid- to late-80s thought so. But, by the early 90s, they’d grown tired of the concept and the Superbar was scrapped. We think it’s time for a comeback, but only if Wendy’s focuses the bar on more relevant offerings and remembers that it’s not a Mexican restaurant or an Italian restaurant.
The Taco Bell Frito Burrito
Not long before the Doritos Locos Tacos fused snack food with, well, another snack food, there was the Frito Burrito (aka the Beefy Crunch Burrito). The recipe was simple: chili, cheese, and crunchy Fritos corn chips all wrapped up nicely in a soft tortilla shell. Did the Fritos get soggy if you didn’t scarf down the burrito within three-and-a-half minutes of ordering it? Sure, but those things were so good, they rarely lasted that long.
The Burger King Enormous Omelet Sandwich
If you like gigantic, coma-inducing breakfast sandwiches, then you probably remember 2005 fondly. That’s when Burger King introduced America’s waistlines to the Enormous Omelet Sandwich, a massive morning meal that clocked in with a whopping 730 calories and 47 grams of fat. Those same eye-popping stats were what killed the short-lived menu item, but if you were willing to do a few extra sit-ups to make up for it, the Enormous Omelet Sandwich was a thing of beauty.
MARKETING LESSON: Take a hard look at your brand’s retired product list. Chances are good there’s at least one retiree that’s primed for a comeback.