McDonald's Does Cucumbers?
McDonald's executives launch new line of McWrap’s
McDonald's wrap packaging comes in a convenient shape to fit in both your hand and car's cup holder.
Don’t you just hate it when you want a snack wrap but you’re hungry enough for three? Well, McDonald's knows what you’ve been going through, and their team of executives report that specialists in Austria have come up with a solution.
The McWrap is the newest McDonald's Menu item (yes, it comes with fries too), which includes a variety of mixed greens, various vegetables, and a flour tortilla. The meal was integrated into the McDonald's US menus earlier this month, and from the looks of it, people are responding very well.
Trying out the three available combinations, Bacon and Chicken, Sweet Chicken Chili, and Chicken and Ranch, all wrapped up in a freshly steamed tortilla, McDonald's might be your local Deli’s new competition. These wraps come stuffed with mixed field greens, cucumbers, carrots, and of course, the variation of chicken that you choose at the counter when ordering.
McDonald's has said that it is evolving into a new, nutrition-focused restaurant and with 360 Calories and 26g of protein in a grilled Premium McWrap with Sweet Chili Chicken; we’re having a hard time doubting them. To give this wrap a little flavor, McDonald's even strayed away from classically used oil-based sauces, like mayonnaise, and created a yogurt based creamy garlic sauce as a healthier alternative for the new McWrap.
Fast-food chains adapt to local tastes
(CNN) -- After thousands of years of civilization, finally India has Crunchwraps.
In March, a Taco Bell opened in Bangalore, the first Indian outpost of the chain.
About 2,500 people a day have been lining up to try burritos and quesadillas, helped out by employees hired to explain what, exactly, burritos and quesadillas are, according to reports.
But Indian customers aren't just ordering the Tex-Mex treats known in the U.S. Yum Foods, Taco Bell's parent company, came up with a bunch of special menu items designed for local palates: crunchy potato tacos and extra-spicy burritos filled with paneer, the rubbery, fresh Indian cheese.
This move is what people in the trade call product localization: customizing what you're selling to the people you're selling it to. It's a crucial strategy in the global fast-food business. American chains are bringing burgers and pizza and chimichangas to Asia, but they are also adapting to their new homes, coming up with hybrid foods that the folks back home don't hear about.
This is nothing new, of course. McDonald's, which has branches in more than 119 countries, has been customizing its menus for years.
Anyone who's seen "Pulp Fiction" knows that a McDonald's Quarter Pounder is called a Royal in France, but it's not just the names that are different. French visitors to the golden arches can get Le P'tit Moutarde, a smaller-size burger with mustard sauce, and they can pair it with a banana caramel shake.
In the Netherlands, McDonald's serves a McKroket (a fried beef croquette on a bun) in Germany, it offers shrimp with cocktail sauce. The 280 Gr. is an Italy-only burger, designed for sophisticated palates -- you can get one with real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
There's a burger on pita bread for the Greek market (the Greek Mac, of course), and a McKebab for Israel. Naturally, you can get guacamole on your burger in Mexico you can also order McMolletes -- refried beans and salsa on an English muffin.
Asia is the fastest-growing market for American fast food though, and all the chains trying to find a place there are scrambling to come up with new dishes to please local tastes.
Here's some of what Americans may be missing:
As the Taco Bell honchos undoubtedly know, India is a tricky market for food chains. Hindus don't eat beef, Muslims don't eat pork, and a sizable percentage of the country doesn't eat meat at all.
Fried chicken is a relatively safe bet, and KFC -- another Yum Foods-owned brand -- does a good business in buckets of Colonel Sanders' original recipe. But it also caters to vegetarians with a veg thali, a vegetable-and-rice mixed plate, and the Chana Snacker, a chickpea burger with Thousand Island dressing.
The Indian Subway menu has the same turkey and tuna sandwiches as in U.S. stores, but roast beef is nowhere to be found, and the ham is made of chicken. And at franchises from Chandigarh to Chennai, you can order a chicken tikka sub or one made from roast lamb.
When McDonald's set up shop in India in 1996, it ditched beef and introduced the Maharaja Mac, originally made with lamb. Chicken patties are used on the sandwich now, but even more popular is the vegetarian McAloo Tikki, a burger made from potatoes and peas. To allay strict dietary concerns, the carnivorous and vegetarian cooking is done separately, by different sets of workers: Those cooking the veggie meals wear green aprons people handling meat wear red.
The big fast-food success story is Domino's Pizza, which recently opened its 300th branch in India. It manages to please all tastes and honor all restrictions: There's a corn and black olive pizza for the vegetarians (the "Gourmet") and keema do pyaaza topping -- ground lamb and onions -- for meat eaters. For a true exotic taste, there's pepperoni: "100 percent pork pepperoni," the online menu promises, rather scandalously.
The leading American chain in the Chinese market, KFC, offers plenty of dishes that cater to local tastes. Instead of coleslaw, you can order seasonal vegetables with your chicken: bamboo shoots in spring, lotus root in summer. It also offers a traditional breakfast menu featuring congee -- rice porridge -- served with fried crullers or sesame flatbread for dipping.
McDonald's, on the other hand, sticks mostly with classic sandwiches. After introducing regionally specific items, such as the rice burgers it serves in other Asian countries, and trying to compete with KFC on the chicken front, it found that its Chinese customers preferred to order Western foods. So it played up the burgers, rolling out a suggestive ad campaign with the slogan "Feel the beef."
But not everything is exactly the same as it is in the States. A version of the Quarter Pounder (called the Big N' Beefy) is served with cucumbers rather than pickles and comes with a spicier sauce. If you don't want fries, you can order a corn cup, a side dish that has caught on at other Asian branches. For dessert, you can choose between pineapple or taro root pies.
For its Japanese stores, McDonald's has found that novelty is the way to go, and the company has introduced lots of special menu items. You can pair your Teriyaki McBurger, made from pork, with a bag of Seaweed Shaker fries (add the seaweed powder yourself). You can get a Croquette Burger or a Bacon Potato Pie. Probably the most distinctively Japanese dish is the Ebi Filet-O, a fried shrimp patty on a bun ("ebi" means shrimp in Japanese). McDonald's helped popularize the dish by signing up model Yuri Ebihara -- nicknamed "Ebi-chan" -- to do a series of print ads and commercials.
A few years back, Pizza Hut Japan introduced the Double Roll, an over-the-top pizza to make all other over-the-top pizzas run away and cower in fear. One half (the "gourmet half") was topped with ham, bacon, sausage, tomatoes and garlic. The other half was covered with miniature hamburger patties, soybeans and corn. Sadly, the Double Roll is no longer sold, but that doesn't mean Pizza Hut is boring. Your topping choices include tuna, fried squid and spicy Korean-style beef. You also can get the "Idaho Special" with potato, corn, bacon and mayonnaise.
Dunkin' Donuts has made a big splash in South Korea, popularizing bagels and doughnuts as breakfast treats. Besides the standard American glazed and filled versions, it offers red bean and glutinous rice doughnuts as well as sweet potato muffins and a sesame tofu ring. There are savory fried croquettes filled with lentil curry or kimchi, spicy pickled cabbage. To drink, you can get a hot 12-grain latte, made from roasted barley, brown rice and other grains.
McDonald's Big Mac
Brothers Dick and Mac McDonald opened the first McDonald's drive-in restaurant in 1948, in San Bernardino, California. When the brothers began to order an increasing amount of restaurant equipment for their growing business, they aroused the curiosity of milk-machine salesman Ray Kroc. Kroc befriended the brothers and became a franchising agent for the company that same year, opening his first McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois. Kroc later founded the hugely successful McDonald's Corporation and perfected the fast food system that came to be studied and duplicated by other chains over the years. The first day Kroc's cash register rang up $366.12. Today the company racks up about $50 million a day in sales in more than 12,000 outlets worldwide, and for the past ten years a new store has opened somewhere around the world an average of every fifteen hours. The double-decker Big Mac was introduced in 1968, the brain-child of a local franchisee. It is now the world's most popular hamburger and it is super easy to duplicate at home. You can use Kraft Thousand Island dressing for the special sauce, or follow the link in the Tidbits below to a recipe for cloning the special sauce from scratch. When you're done, pair your Big Mac with the refreshing McDonald's sweet tea recipe for the full take-out experience.
For a live demo of this classic hack, check out this video.
This recipe is available in
- 1 sesame seed hamburger bun
- Half of an additional hamburger bun
- 1/4 pound ground beef
- Ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon thousand island dressing or Big Mac Special Sauce clone (see Tidbits)
- 1 teaspoon finely diced onion
- 1/2 cup chopped iceberg lettuce
- 1 slice American cheese
- 2 to 3 dill pickle slices
1. With a serrated knife, cut the top off the extra bun half, leaving about a 3/4-inch-thick slice. This will be the middle bun of your sandwich
2. Place the three buns on a hot pan or griddle, face down, and toast them to a light brown. Set aside, but keep the pan hot.
3. Divide the ground beef in half and press into two thin patties slightly larger than the bun.
4. Cook the patties in the hot pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Salt and pepper lightly.
5. Build the burger in the following stacking order from the bottom up:
half of special sauce
half of onion
half of lettuce
remainder of special sauce
remainder of onion
remainder of lettuce
Part of the fast food giant’s success is its observation of global trends and national markets. As such, the company tailors its worldwide menus to include aspects of local cuisine and meet socio-cultural and religious dietary requirements. Movie fans may remember the European nomenclature of the Big Mac being famously discussed by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in Quentin Tarantino’s cult 1994 film, “Pulp Fiction.”
In Israel for example, 50 of the country’s 180 branches are strictly Kosher, and even some of the non-Kosher branches will provide dairy-free desserts if asked. All of Saudi Arabia’s McDonald’s restaurants are certified Halal , and in 2013, McDonald’s opened its first fully vegetarian restaurant in Amritsar , Northern India. McDonald’s Indian menu is particularly varied, with exclusive products like its Veg Pizza McPuff and McSpicy Paneer being top sellers. The McAloo Tikki, made from potato and spices, has also been released in the U.S. One of its top sellers in India, it’s currently the only vegan burger option on offer by the chain in the U.S.
Plant-based foods are a key market area for food retailers, as in recent years there has been a global increase in the number of vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians . The vegan revolution is so widespread that it is making waves in Kenya , Mexico , and in the UK data released in 2018 suggested that the numbers of British vegans had increased by 700 percent in just two years.
But when McDonald’s brought it back to the United States, the Premium McWrap flopped. It took McDonald’s two years just to establish a supply chain for cucumbers, which it had never used before, and the wraps proved devilishly difficult to assemble. It takes 60 seconds on average for a worker to assemble a Premium McWrap, according to franchisees, compared with roughly 10 seconds to assemble a burger.
Last summer, McDonald’s announced that it was testing “high-density prep tables” to try to address the problems with the wraps. This only frustrated franchisees more because they had to make yet another investment in the tables to fix a product that wasn’t selling well.
“The problem is not that consumers don’t want hamburgers, as anyone who’s been to Five Guys recently can tell you,” said a former McDonald’s executive whose severance agreement effectively made it impossible for him to speak publicly about the company without taking a financial hit. “What they’re waiting for is a better hamburger from McDonald’s, not a wrap.”
Barry Klein, the former McDonald’s marketing executive who created Ronald McDonald, agrees. “I think you’ll see that wrap go away,” he said. “It seems that Thompson thought that by trying to be all things to all people, by getting more products into the lineup, he would be able to maintain volumes,” said Mr. Klein, referring to Don Thompson, whom Mr. Easterbrook replaced. “Instead, operations got so complicated that waiting times went up, and people didn’t come in droves for the new menu items.”
Mr. Klein is among the few consumers who’ve had a chance to try McDonald’s latest turnaround effort — a Create Your Own tablet that allows people to custom-build their sandwiches from a menu of meats, toppings and buns. The burger he got, he said, could compete with the more succulent ones at, say, Elevation Burger.
But it also was about $1.50 more than a Big Mac and required him to wait at a table to be served. The new burgers can be ordered only inside restaurants, and because they’re made from raw patties, not the precooked ones used in the standard burger, they take seven or eight minutes to prepare, an eternity for the typical McDonald’s customer. “When something like two-thirds of the business is drive-through,” Mr. Klein said, “this is not the solution.”
Also, franchisees have not forgotten that McDonald’s already tried a higher-priced burger, the Angus Deluxe, and failed. It was removed from the menu in 2013 after a four-year run. They are wary of the new build-your-own-burger idea, according to Mr. Adams, the franchisee turned consultant.
Mr. Adams surveys about one-third of McDonald’s franchisees every quarter. “For the last three or four years, they’ve been saying the biggest problem is menu complexity,” he said. “Now management is finally talking about menu simplification on the one hand, and on the other hand, with this Create Your Own thing, starting to roll out an entirely new restaurant system within the restaurants.”
The Create Your Own setup will cost franchisees about $100,000 per store, Mr. Adams said. Those who invest must have shaved Parmesan on hand, in addition to the shredded lettuce used for regular burgers, not to mention grilled onions, jalapeños, avocado and 30 other toppings. “McDonald’s has many strengths that it’s had for decades,” said Mark Kalinowski, an investment analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott. “Customization is not one of them.”
Reaching for the Halo
McDonald’s has been around for more than 60 years. It’s been through bad times and recovered. Given its extraordinary brand recognition, it can’t be dismissed. A bottle of its “secret sauce” recently sold for more than $14,000 on eBay.
Also, it has innovated, even out of failure. The fast-food breakfast is such a staple now that we forget McDonald’s invented it in the 1970s with the Egg McMuffin.
“Atlanta was a test market for breakfast, and it was failing and failing badly,” said Michael McDonald, a former advertising executive whose firm worked for McDonald’s in its southern region back then. The problem was that Atlanta residents had no clue what an English muffin was. “We like soft, doughy biscuits,” Mr. McDonald said. A series of radio ads voiced by a man with a thick Southern accent, who explained that there was “this muffin from England” and “bacon from Canada that’s really just like ham,” saved the Egg McMuffin.
Today, breakfast accounts for some 25 percent of McDonald’s sales.
More recently, McDonald’s in 2009 added espresso drinks to the menus in McCafé, an attempt to compete with Starbucks. The espresso machines cost $13,000 apiece, and were largely idle, to the frustration of franchisees who made the investment, according to several former executives. So the company regrouped, adding fruit-flavored frozen drinks that offset the lack of interest in espresso.
“McDonald’s dodged a bullet there because the next spring, corporate quickly rolled out the crushed-ice drinks, which have been a huge success,” Mr. Adams said. Today, McCafé counters draw customers into stores in the afternoons, traditionally a lull period, and a no-frills cup of McDonald’s coffee competes so well with Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks that McDonald’s is starting to sell ground coffee in grocery stores.
Mr. Donahue, the former communications chief, said the company had allowed itself to be defined by others. “Instead of telling consumers that they sell more chicken than beef and are the No. 1 seller of apples, for instance, they’ve allowed the fringe groups and so-called influencers to define McDonald’s as the company that’s made America fat,” he said.
The new marketing campaign, “Our Food, Your Questions,” is an attempt by McDonald’s to take back its story. Consumers can watch short videos that answer questions such as whether each Egg McMuffin is made from a freshly cracked egg — it is — and “What’s in a Chicken McNugget?” (meat from the chicken breast, tenderloin and ribs ground with a small amount of chicken skin).
But marketing experts question whether that effort is working the way McDonald’s intended. Consumers pointed out, for instance, that McDonald’s uses 19 ingredients to make its famous fries in the United States, including dextrose and dimethylpolysiloxane, when only five ingredients go into its fries in Britain.
“Transparency’s fine,” Mr. Adams said. “But I don’t think anybody, and especially moms, wants to see big slabs of beef being ground into hamburger.”
That new marketing campaign comes straight from Mr. Easterbrook’s English playbook, and it seems to be a sign that the company intends to do a better job of controlling its own message. Also on that agenda in Las Vegas last week: “Change the conversation about McDonald’s: Counterattack brand disparagers with continuous positive news on food quality and employment image.”
That Mr. Easterbrook’s first big marketing move was about fundamentals — how McDonald’s products are made — indicated that he was reaching for the halo floating above some of his rival companies.
But how much can McDonald’s afford? The chicken meat raised with fewer antibiotics will cost more. And while the company doesn’t expect those costs to be passed on to consumers now — many factors go into pricing any particular menu item — if it wants to compete in the “sustainable, local, build your own meal” space of Smashburger, Shake Shack or Panera Bread, it won’t come cheap.
“It can’t be all things to all people,” Mr. Donahue said. “It has to decide.” McDonald’s can’t afford to let high-quality ingredients price out its core customers. It can’t afford to miss out on an affluent market that wants high-quality ingredients. And it certainly can’t afford to make any of those customers wait a second longer.
Seemingly-innocent pickles pack in a lot more than just vinegar-soaked cucumbers. Potentially allergy-inducing dyes such as Yellow #5 are present in Jack in the Box, White Castle, and Burger King's pickles.
Even the tomatoes aren't just pure fruit: Whataburger coats its ruby-hued slices with a far-from-appetizing vegetable-, petroleum-, beeswax-, and/or shellac-based wax or resin. Yes, shellac. You know the top coating that makes your mani shine?
McDonald's Special Sauce Recipe
There is no juicy Big Mac without special sauce. As the jingle says, "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun." But the sauce, while special, is not so secret. We have the original recipe so you can replicate its flavor and texture to top your homemade burgers, hot dogs, and fries.
The famous condiment has been a hit since it was first used in 1968. Our recipe is actually from the "McDonald's Manager's Handbook," published in 1969. The booklet was meant to be used only in an emergency if stores ran out of the premade sauce. In fear of other burger chains learning the recipe and using the sauce in their restaurants, this page of the handbook was quickly removed, a little too late. The recipe was made public the following year and has been available ever since.
This recipe is made up of ingredients you can easily purchase at a store. The original text includes references to brand-name products, so if you want to recreate the exact formula, then this is the way to go. Other brands are also acceptable, and if you need to alter sodium, food coloring, or sugar content, use what you'd normally use in your kitchen.
Our homemade version has all of the flavors you want from the special signature sauce. Use it to turn an ordinary burger or slider into something really special. Or serve it alongside other fast-food staples like fries, chicken nuggets, or sandwiches.
My Grandmother's Marinated Cucumber Salad Is the Only Side Dish You'll Need This Summer
There are two things I&aposve always been able to count on at my grandparents&apos South Carolina beach condo: a sparkling view of the Atlantic and a bowl of marinated cucumbers in the fridge.
My grandmother was an amazing cook, churning out small batches of fudge at Christmas, enormous batches of hot dog chili at Halloween, and whatever she saw on Food Network in between. In spring and summer, thanks to the garden my grandfather tended at the family farm down the road, marinated cucumbers were always on the menu. After she died, my grandfather, who for more than 40 years had relied on her for meals, had to learn the ropes of their narrow galley kitchen himself.
My grandfather has yet to attempt her fudge, but he mastered the marinated cucumbers our first summer without her. They&aposre easy— a quick pickle, soaked in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, oil, and sugar, and layered with slivers of white and yellow onions. 24 hours in the refrigerator, and they&aposre good to go.
The other night, homesick for my people and nostalgic for bygone beach days, I attempted the marinated cucumbers for the first time. And unlike the fudge I&aposve tried and failed at before, the cucumbers were a fail-proof winner. One bite, and I was immediately seven years old again, tiptoeing across the laminate flooring with sandy toes and sliding my salty, prune-y fingers into the bowl left on one of the few refrigerator shelves I could reach.
Just as I remembered, they&aposre refreshingly tangy with a lingering, subtle sweetness. That they cured my homesickness was a comforting bonus.
The BTS Meal, with sauces inspired by South Korean recipes, coming to McDonald’s in May
K-Pop superstars BTS have partnered with McDonald’s to offer the band’s favorite order starting May 26.
The BTS Meal, announced using french fries to emulate the group’s iconic logo, includes a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, medium fries and medium Coke, complete with Sweet Chili and Cajun dipping sauces inspired by popular McDonald’s South Korea recipes, available in the United States for the first time ever.
The BTS Meal will hit the U.S. on May 26 at participating restaurants and will be available globally in nearly 50 countries. BTS was represented by Loeb & Loeb’s Debbie White in the deal.
“The band has great memories with McDonald’s,” BTS’ label Big Hit Music said in a statement. “We’re excited about this collaboration and can’t wait to share the BTS Meal with the world.”
The BTS collab is the latest installment of McDonald’s Famous Orders program, which featured partnerships with J Balvin and Travis Scott, whose order marked the first celebrity meal at the fast-food chain since Michael Jordan’s 1992 McJordan burger.
The Travis Scott Meal, which included a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon, lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mustard medium fries (with BBQ Sauce for dipping) and a Sprite, was accompanied by a popular merchandise line and led to a viral TikTok trend in which customers pulled up to the drive-thru blasting the artist’s hit song “Sicko Mode.” According to USA Today, the Travis Scott Meal contributed to a shortage in key ingredients at McDonald’s due to overwhelming demand.
Last year, the fast-food chain teased out other famous orders in a Super Bowl commercial that features real-life celebrity orders from Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Whoopi Goldberg, Magic Johnson, Keith Urban and more.
BTS is comprised of members J-Hope, Jimin, Jin, Jungkook, RM, V and SUGA.
As you can see, eating healthy, natural food and eating a McDonald’s burger just doesn’t go hand-in-hand. However, this isn’t even to single out McDonald’s, because plenty of fast food restaurants do the exact same things. They want to hide their ingredients from you because it allows them to keep using cheap ingredients that are better for their bottom line.
If you take one thing from this article it’s that you should be doing your research on anything you eat. Confusing ingredients lists will always be an issue if you intend on eating restaurant food, but you can arm yourself with a knowledge of nutrition and an ability to read between the lines.
So do your research, check ingredients, and prepare your own food when possible. Healthy and informed eating isn’t always the fastest way to eat, but you will find that the benefits far outweigh the extra effort.