But unlike the fast feeder's yogurt parfait and apple-walnut salad, it's not aimed at health nuts: The Sausage McSkillet comes with either steak or sausage, accompanied by eggs, cheese, fried potatoes, peppers and fire-roasted salsa, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla. At 8.4 oz., it's more than twice the weight of the old breakfast burrito.
The sausage McSkillet has 610 calories and 36 grams of fat. That makes it McDonald's third-most-fattening breakfast, behind the Big Breakfast and the Big Breakfast Deluxe. Those meals have 790 calories and 51 grams of fat and 1,070 calories and 55 grams of fat, respectively.
William Lamar, CMO McDonald's USA, said McDonald's is trying to ensure there's something for everybody on the breakfast menu.
"We offer customers the choice," he said during a phone interview. "Our choice as a responsible corporate citizen is to make sure that customers have the choice they need to make in their diets over a day or week."
The hand-held format
Mr. Lamar added that it was important for McDonald's to have more burrito-based options as Mexican food becomes increasingly popular and schedules get tighter.
"People tend to be more and more time-pressed," he said. "The hand-held format is very important to our takeout and drive-thru customers."
During a webcast Tuesday morning to launch the product, Mr. Lamar suggested that if a customer stops at Mickey D's the morning after a big meal, maybe they would chose a parfait or apple salad instead of a McSkillet.
Spanish and English ads
In marketing the burritos, McDonald's plans to push the portability and flavor profile.
The early commercials, by DDB, Chicago, are in Spanish and English, focus on what's inside the burrito and show young people enjoying time together during breakfast, all behind the "I'm Lovin' It" backdrop.
McDonald's is clearly focusing on breakfast business, which now accounts for 24% of sales. The next release, slated for early 2008, is the Southern-style chicken biscuit; lattes and sweet tea will also be released next year. The fast feeder now has 9,000 U.S. locations with free Wi-Fi, which it hopes will bring customers inside the stores to spend some time.
The size-of-your-head breakfast sandwich isn't a new concept. Burger King has the Enormous Omelet Sandwich and Hardee's has a Monster Biscuit, with sausage, ham, bacon and cheese inside a buttery sandwich. Carl's Junior sells a Breakfast Burger, which is a regular bacon cheeseburger, with a fried egg and Tater Tots inside. That sandwich has 830 calories and 47g of fat.