McDonald's To Launch 'Subway Buster': The McWrap

Chain Goes After Sandwiches With Biggest Introduction of 2013

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When McDonald's rolled out its McCafe lineup, it was going after Starbucks. But it has a new rival now: Subway.

According to people familiar with the situation, McDonald's views its upcoming McWrap as a "Subway buster," a product that is capable of taking share from the sandwich chain and others of its ilk. McDonald's also views the new product as its biggest launch of 2013 and its biggest brand opportunity since McCafe, these people said. Though the McWrap is available in some locations already, it's believed the official national launch will be within the next few weeks and will include a major national marketing push.

McDonald's McWrap
McDonald's McWrap

Though McDonald's views this as its biggest brand opportunity since McCafe, it's unclear how much the marketer will spend promoting it. The introduction will likely receive more ad spending than other products this year, but in all likelihood it won't hit the spending heights of McCafe, which was an entire product platform. The year McCafe launched, McDonald's spent upwards of $129 million in measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar. McCafe was said to be McDonald's biggest rollout in nearly 30 years.

A spokeswoman for McDonald's did not offer comment beyond that the company could not "comment on speculation or information we believe was obtained through unauthorized means."

According to those who are familiar with its strategy, McDonald's believes it has not capitalized sufficiently on the popularity of the sandwich category where it identifies Subway, Chick-Fil-A and KFC as having strong presences, and views the introduction of its McWrap as the biggest opportunity for the chain to take share in the sandwich category this year.

McDonald's is hoping the McWrap, a chicken wrap that includes romaine lettuce, cucumbers and three sauces customers can choose from, will appeal to young people and those who have a health-conscious mindset and appreciate customizable products. Customers can get it either grilled or crispy, and it will be marketed as a premium product.

The chain already has snack wraps on its menu, but it tested the entree-sized McWrap last year after the product was successful overseas. In the Chicago test for the McWrap, it sold for $3.99 and it's believed it will be priced similarly nationally.

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