McDonald's announces new menu launch

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McDonald's Corp., attempting to "elevate food to star status" today, announced the national launch of its New Tastes Menu.

The program includes 40 items that will be rotated to introduce variety into the Golden Arches' permanent menu. Local markets can choose up to four items to be featured in their market for rotation throughout the year. Among the newer items on the optional menu are the Crispy Chicken McClub, BBQ Bacon Chicken McGrill, the McRib Jr. and the Bacon Ranch Crispy Chicken.

Menu items may represent new sandwiches, breakfast items, snacks or desserts and range from value-priced offerings to more expensive, high-end products to offer permanent, predictable and reliable variety, said Larry Zwain, McDonald's senior VP-U.S. marketing.

"We want to leverage the scale and appeal of our broader menu to appeal to regional, local, and seasonal taste preferences," he said, adding "research tells us [customers] want more choices on the menu."

While the company has tried to brand variety programs in the past, including a "Taste of the Month" program, those were operationally difficult before McDonald's rolled out its new kitchen system. "The Made For You cooking system is the platform that allows us to enhance the quality and breadth of our menu," Mr. Zwain said. "It's a much more permanent vehicle for us to showcase products in a way that provides a branded identity for variety for customers." McDonald's has branded value with its Extra Value Menu and Outrageous Values menus, as well as kids meals with Happy Meals.

Backed by an estimated $60 million ad campaign, three national 30-second spots will break Jan. 21 to introduce the menu. DDB Worldwide, Chicago, created the general market spot; del Rivero Messianu, Miami, created the Hispanic market spot and Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, created the African-American market spot. The agencies also created local advertising shells for use in local markets. The spots will continue the "We love to see you smile" tagline created by DDB, using the concept of change and unexpected new things.

While he wouldn't quantify the scope of the project, Mr. Zwain said the new menu will be featured "as often nationally and regionally as we can."

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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