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McDonald’s embraces not-so-Big Macs, nixes ambitious custom burger menu

Photo: Ulrich Baumgarten/Getty Images

McDonald’s uphill journey to becoming a “modern, progressive” burger joint in a culture that’s increasingly cognizant of culinary and health trends continues. Yesterday, Business Insider reported the iconic chain’s latest, most ambitious initiative yet, the “Create Your Taste” custom-burger menu, has been shelved. In its place are “Signature Crafted Recipes,” a decidedly more manageable option that offers fewer choices for customization and bundled toppings. You gotta walk before you can run, my dudes. Remember McSpaghetti?

McDonald’s also unveiled the choice of both larger and smaller versions of the Big Mac. The “Mac Jr.” pumps that special sauce over a single 1/6-pound patty, while the “Grand Mac” stuffs gullets with 66 percent more beef, an extra slice of cheese, and a larger bun. They’ll be available for a limited time nationwide early next year.


These moves come courtesy CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took control of the company early last year and has since produced “consistent sales growth and a stock price at repeated all-time highs,” according to the Chicago Tribune. And just a few weeks ago CNBC reported that McDonald’s third quarter earnings this year topped Wall Street estimates. That said, those earnings are still down by more than a billion from last year.

It’s going to take some major innovations for the company to dig itself out of this hole, but trying to emulate a “fast casual” experience rather than a “fast” one sort of negates the reason people settle for Mickey D’s. With “Create Your Taste,” customers at select locations in California, New York, and Australia could choose from more than 30 ingredients, including caramelized grilled onions and chili lime tortilla strips, from kiosks in the lobby. Prices were nearly double a traditional McDonald’s meal in both price and wait times. Guys, you’re not Umami Burger. You’re not even Five Guys. That’s not what we want from you.

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