Unless you are a hermit that lives in a secluded cabin in the woods, you have heard of McDonald's. Even the Unabomber probably ate at McDonald's at some point in his life. What you may now know is that McDonald's has had some pretty crazy menu items they cancelled over the years.
While they started out as a burger and fries joint, they have experimented with a few menu items that were met with mixed reviews. Here are a few of their craziest experiments. Some of these are just crazy enough that they may taste good, but others are clearly flops that should stay locked away in the McDonald's vault for good.
Frankly, this was a great idea for a fast food joint that built its reputation on creating food on the good. A McDonald's shaker actually gave you a viable way to eat salad in the car. If lettuce didn't keep recalled today, we would demand to get this back on the menu.
McDonald's tried to appeal to adults and rebrand itself as a choice for sophisticated diners with the Arch Deluxe. The burger featured bacon and a proprietary mayo/mustard blend on a potato sesame blend and was targeted at adults with a more discerning palate. It turns out those adults don't dine at McDonald's because the burger was a flop.
Big N' Tasty
McDonald's noticed that the Whopper was garnishing Burger King a lot of attention, so they attempted to create their own version with the Big N' Tasty. Despite multiple marketing attempts and eventually dropping the N' and simply calling the Whopper knock-off the Big Tasty, McDonald's was forced to drop it off their menu.
McSpaghetti & McPizza
In the '80s McDonald's decided to open up its menu by introducing Italian favorites. While spaghetti is basically the easiest meal known to mankind, it didn't really fit into the fast-food market well at all. Turns out old stale noodles and watery sauce don't sell well. The McPizza did not fare much better as the McDonald's version just couldn't compete with a Personal Pan pizza from Pizza Hut.
At one point McDonald's realized that sales were down on Fridays in predominantly Catholic areas since Catholics are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays. They hoped to solve this problem by creating the Hula Burger. Keep in mind that this was before the popularity of veggie burgers rose, which in hindsight would have been a much better idea. Instead, they tried the Hula Burger which was simply a slice of thick pineapple grilled and then dressed up like a burger. Turns out even with all dressing, pineapple does not taste like a burger.
Italian is not the only culinary market that McDonald's failed to enter, seafood is another. Back in the early nineties McDonald's thought it could entice seafood lovers with its McLobster: lobster chunks served in a hotdog bun. There is nothing remotely enticing about high-end lobster served in a fifty-cent bun with a ketchup mixture, and customers agreed. While the fish filet sandwich took off, the McLobster was dead in the sea.
Angus 3rd Pounder
The Angus 3rd Pounder is a heart attack waiting to happen. The burger was huge with a full slice of bacon and designed to be the ultimate alternative to the quarter pounder. The idea was bigger had to be better, except customers didn't want to pay more when they were satisfied with the quarter pounder. McDonald's took it off their menu even though it is still popular and available in the Australian and Argentina markets.
The McDLT was confusing at best. It was packaged in two containers so that you could combine the hot ingredients and soft ingredients on your own. The only problem was you had to sit down and assemble your sandwich, which is a lot of trouble for someone who just wants a quick burger they can grab on the go. Surprisingly enough, it took nine years for McD's to finally yank it off the menu.
Onion nuggets are something that seems like they should be good, but somehow just weren't. In theory, they are the nugget version of an onion ring, diced onions rolled together and then breaded and fried. It turned out to be just too much onion, and consumers quickly turned away from the bad-breath fast food treat that didn't make it long on the menu.