McDonald's is shaking up its value play with McPick, which will allow diners to pick two items for $2, and will eliminate the Dollar Menu & More.
McPick will roll out between Jan. 4 and Feb. 8 with four choices: McDouble, McChicken, small fry or mozzarella sticks. Customers will be able to pick two of those four items for $2.
A spokeswoman confirmed that the McPick menu platform will replace the chain's Dollar Menu & More. She also said it is possible that the items on the McPick menu will change over time. "It's meant to be a flexible platform that sets the stage for value customization," she said.
Over the summer, the chain tried out a two-item deal with a double cheeseburger and small fry for $2.50.
The chain, which is working on improvements under new leadership after a prolonged sales slump, has said that its customers want a consistent value proposition. U.S. sales at longstanding locations rose in the third quarter, marking the first such increase in two years.
At a meeting Nov. 10, Mike Andres, President-McDonald's USA, said "roughly 25% of our customer visits are motivated by value and many of those customers have been tempted away from McDonald's by a more consistent value offering by our competition."
Still, the company does not want to focus solely on price. During the same meeting, CEO Steve Easterbrook said, "I believe we can own the modern definition of value" in the fast food industry and that price plays an important role "but it's not the only role within the whole value equation."
In a statement Monday, McDonald's said "the new value menu platform is just another example of how we are changing and building a better McDonald's" and that it was "part of a broader value platform grounded in what our customers are looking for -- choice and flexibility."
McDonald's new value play is the latest in pointed price offerings. In October, rival Wendy's launched its own four for $4 meal, a limited-time offer that includes a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, small fries and a small drink. Meanwhile, KFC has its $5 Fill Ups boxes and Subway long had success with its $5 Footlong sandwich and now promotes a Simple $6 Menu.
This is not the first time McDonald's has tinkered with its value play. It had already offered higher-priced items on what was once called its Dollar Menu. It began advertising the Dollar Menu & More in November 2013. That followed 2012's launch of a mid-tier value menu called the Extra Value Menu, with items up to $2, which did not meet sales expectations.
Having low-priced items is important for the chain, especially during economic downturns. In 2008, dollar menu items accounted for about 14% of total U.S. sales.