Have it your way? McDonald’s has found another way to make its existing menu work harder, highlighting four fan-recommended “menu hacks” that combine various items into a single order.
The move positions the quick-service chain along the lines of competitors like In-N-Out Burger, whose fans admire what they call a “secret menu,” or the ability to order custom preparations of its ingredients and items, such as having sandwiches cut in half or fries that stay longer in the fryer, or grilled cheese sandwiches made of burgerless burgers.
While not going that far—McDonald's says its hacks are meant for fans to assemble on their own—the approach opens customers to the possibility of creating a single sandwich assembled from several items, such as the Hash Brown McMuffin, or the breakfast sandwich served with the hash brown inside the bun, or the “Crunchy McDouble,” a double cheeseburger topped with Chicken McNuggets and sauce.
McDonald’s said it plumbed its “order hacks” from social media accounts—TikTok users who focus on food. It highlighted several of the contributions in a press release, including the Hash Brown McMuffin, which was a suggestion of Sarah Sandlin, whose TikTok account with over 170,000 followers identifies her as a Clemson University student. Also highlighted was a combination of a double cheeseburger and Fillet-O-Fish called the “Surf + Turf,” which McDonald's credited to PJ Mattingly, who goes by @heavyhands94 on social media.
Mattingly has another mashup in his feed he calls the “McGangbang” that was not cited in McDonald's' press release. McDonald's officials have not responded to Ad Age’s questions over the propriety of aligning its brand with an influencer whose post referenced common slang for rape. It was unclear whether the chain was aware of the post. The connection, intended or not, shows the risks companies take when they cede portions of their marketing to influencers whose social feeds have the potential to stray from messages brands want to convey.
It was not clear how, if at all, the cited influencers were compensated.