The multiculturalism of McDonald’s introduction of McNoodles in Austria is just one example of the chain’s accelerated effort to bring global flavors and excitement to its menus across euro-crisis-depressed Europe. In July, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson told analysts, “Europe’s Informal Eating Out industry is contracted as austerity measures continue to impact consumer purchasing power and confidence.”
To energize customer traffic, McDonald’s has launched a wave of new globally-inspired items onto continental Europe menus. An “Around the World in 80 Bites” promotion that began this week in Germany is one example. New items include the Big South Africa Beef burger with paprika and fried onions; Big Argentina Barbecue burger with a spicy, smoky barbecue sauce; and Thai Chicken sandwich (topped with red and yellow bell pepper and a spicy sauce).
Such exotic, premium-price creations are part of the marketing map for Europe that Thompson outlined in July. “Europe is re-energizing its 2012 plans,” he said then. “Those plans are being re-energized to drive traffic in this environment. Markets are also placing an even stronger focus on value offerings across the menu and on promotional food events featuring premium products.”
In other European and Scandinavian markets, McDonald’s is relying largely on interest in American cultural and flavors to bring customers in. American-theme burgers have worked before for McDonald’s, but the sheer number of such promotions simultaneously mounted across Europe right now is striking. For example:
◙ In Switzerland, the “Stars of America” menu includes three new double-patty burger LTOs: Steakhouse Classic with barbecue sauce, L.A. Bacon with red-onion rings, and Texas Chili with Tabasco hot sauce.
◙ In Denmark, the “Tastes of America” menu includes a Chicago Star burger and Chicago Chicken Star sandwich.
◙ On offer in Hungary is an “American Sweethearts” menu that includes a Texas Bacon burger and pineapple-topped Hawaii Grill sandwich.
◙ American icon Tabasco appears in France, too, where McDonald’s has revived the Red Chili Pepper Burger and this time has added a Red Chili Chicken to go with it.
◙ In Italy, McDonald’s has brought back the NYCrispy burger. This, too, now gets a chicken version.
◙ And in Sweden, McDonald’s menu sports a Mexican-flavors version of an old favorite: the El Maco Grande. Its flanker is the Chicken El Wrappo.
◙ The Netherlands is an exception to the global-flavors trend. That’s because McDonald’s has just conducted a “Famous Burger Election” promotion there, a variation on its “My Burger” event that lets consumers create LTOs. The Dutch winner is a burger called McMood. It’s topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles and a fried egg.