McDonald’s is making another major play to raise the profile of its breakfast and coffee menus with the introduction of McCafé Donut Sticks.
The Chicago-based chain said it is doubling down on breakfast with the Feb. 20 unveiling of the sugary, churro-style treats. The nationwide debut of Donut Sticks comes after extensive testing last year to perfect everything from the shape of the donut to the amount of cinnamon sugar needed for each stick.
The result: crispy sticks prepared in “existing kitchen fryers” and served “hot, crispy and golden brown” with no microwaves, the company said.
“It was critical that we perfected them before we brought them to our customers nationwide,” Linda VanGosen, McDonald’s Vice President of Menu Innovation, said in a statement.
Donut sticks, sold by the half dozen for less than $2, will be available for a limited time at breakfast.
The national average price of the sticks will be $1.69 for six or $3.29 for 12.
However, McDonald’s, which has made a push to expand all-day breakfast and McCafé choices, is offering a six-pack of sticks paired with a small coffee for $2.59, on average, the company said.
“Donut Sticks are the perfect complement to our existing breakfast lineup, and pair deliciously with our fresh brewed premium roast McCafé coffee,” VanGosen stated. “We are thrilled to be making breakfast at McDonald’s even more delicious by introducing Donut Sticks.”
The McDonald’s breakfast LTO bears a striking resemblance to Donut Fries, which boosted sales for Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ last year. If consumers respond to McCafé Donut Sticks in the same way they did for Donut Fries, McDonald’s could reverse lackluster results at breakfast.
The $2 Donut Fries, available through the end of 2018, became one of Dunkin’s best-performing LTO bakery items after being introduced nationwide in July. They were made with croissant-style doughnut dough and tossed in cinnamon sugar.
McDonald’s, which has about 14,000 restaurants nationwide, has dominated its QSR rivals at breakfast since the debut of the now iconic Egg McMuffin in 1971.
But late last year, the chain said it was losing share at breakfast.
Soon after, the company added the Triple Breakfast Stacks, a trio of double meat and double cheese breakfast sandwiches. It was the first new breakfast sandwich added to the menu since 2013.
McDonald’s has also tested Muffin Toppers and Coffee Cakes.
“We continue to innovate our McCafé line with exciting beverages and bakery items to delight customers and provide a satisfying coffee experience that is affordable and convenient for all,” the company said.
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