McDonald’s Corp. will be bringing back its Spicy Chicken McNuggets to the U.S. system on Feb. 1 just as an outside analyst’s franchisee survey indicated a strained relationship with headquarters.
The Chicago-based burger giant said the Spicy Chicken McNuggets, when the limited-time offer was first rolled out last September, marked the first McNugget flavor innovation since the menu item was introduced in 1983.
With the return, between Feb. 2 and Feb. 6, McDonald’s customers at participating locations can get a free six-piece Spicy Chicken McNuggets on the McDelivery app with a DoorDash order of $20 or more, using code SPICY.
The Spicy Chicken McNuggets’ return comes as the latest Kalinowski Equity Research LLC quarterly McDonald’s franchisee survey indicated increased tension between unit owners and corporate headquarters.
“We asked our franchisee respondents to quantify the current relationship between franchisees and McDonald’s Corp., using a scale of one to five, with 1=Poor and 5=Excellent,” wrote analyst Mark Kalinowski. “The average response we received was 1.41 — the lowest average response we have received for this question since Q4 2018’s 1.39.”
About 95% of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by franchisees.
McDonald’s said Monday that the Spicy Chicken McNuggets feature a tempura coating with cayenne and chile pepper and the Mighty Hot Sauce option featured crushed red pepper, cayenne and garlic with a “hint of sweetness.” Mighty Hot Sauce, also introduced last September, was McDonald’s first new dipping sauce flavor since 2017.
Prices ranged by market, but the McNuggets were generally $3.50 for six pieces and $5 for 10.
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