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McDonald’s latest menu tests: global foods and chicken tenders

The chain says product experiments are part of the brand’s ‘journey’ to improve the menu

McDonald’s continues to aggressively test new menu items in various U.S. markets.

The brand is now serving foods found at international restaurants at 50 locations in Florida, and new chicken offerings, including chicken tenders, have been spotted in Washington state.

In South Florida, 50 restaurants have introduced a limited-time menu, dubbed Flavors from Abroad, that features popular McDonald’s menu items from Spain, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.

The items include:

  • Grand McExtreme Bacon Burger, a fresh quarter-pound patty burger found in Spain that features McBacon sauce, Applewood smoked bacon, Gouda cheese and slivered onions
  • BBQ McShaker Fries from Malaysia, regular McDonald’s fries served with a smoky BBQ seasoning
  • McSpicy Chicken, a sandwich from Hong Kong locations that features a crispy chicken fillet marinated with spicy seasoning and topped with mayo and lettuce
  • Stroopwafel McFlurry, a dessert from the Netherlands that blends vanilla soft serve ice cream with caramel waffle cookie pieces and caramel sauce.

The Florida experiment comes a few months after McDonald’s debuted a global menu at its new downtown Chicago restaurant. The restaurant, which is open to the public and located at the ground level of the chain’s new West Loop neighborhood headquarters, features a rotating menu of foods found at its global locations. 

Other menu tests have been spotted at McDonald’s locations elsewhere in the country as well.

Restaurant analyst Mark Kalinowsk of Kalinowski Equity Research said in a recent research report that the chain is testing two new chicken meals: an Ultimate Chicken Sandwich and Ultimate Chicken Tenders.

Kalinowski said the new chicken offerings feature lightly breaded all-white-meat chicken and are made to order.

The new chicken sandwich, spotted in Washington state, is prepared differently than the Buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich. It is topped with honey Dijon mayonnaise and served on a sweet artisan roll.

Kalinowski said that the chicken test could be an extension of the chain’s “made to order” fresh beef Quarter Pounder strategy and suggests that this fresh approach is “becoming more important to its future.”

He said the long-term potential of some of the new items was limited, noting “it’s doubtful, for example, that we’re going to see a nationwide rollout of the Stroopwafel McFlurry, no matter how delicious that menu item tastes.” However, he added that the tests could provide valuable insights for future menu development.

Andrea Abate, a McDonald’s spokeswoman, did not comment when asked about the new chicken items. She did say testing is part of the brand’s “journey to build a better McDonald’s.”

“We regularly conduct tests to look at ways we can enhance and improve our menu for customers,” she told Nation’s Restaurant News.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @FastFoodMaven

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