No one responds faster to trouble in the marketplace than McDonald’s. As expected, the QSR burger leader has answered October’s sales drop—its first monthly decline in nine years—with a quick menu infusion that focuses on the low-end of the price spectrum.
To boost customer traffic, McDonald’s has added the new Grilled Onion Cheddar burger (which adds the grilled onions and white Cheddar from the CBO burger to its standard burger) as an under-$2 addition to the Dollar Menu. Fish McBites—which are, just as they sound, fried-fish equivalents of Chicken McBites—will be joining the Dollar Menu soon. And for those with a little more cash, the always-popular McRib is back for a limited time, of course.
Germany has been a difficult market for McDonald’s in the second half of the year. Even when same-store sales rebounded in November in the UK, Russia and others, Germany continued to drag. To remedy that, the chain is revamping the Germany breakfast menu.
One change is that the Nürnburger, the bratwurst with mustard and onions sandwich that was a hit in the summer of 2010, is back as a morning offering.
New breakfast items include Rührei Bacon, a platter of bacon and eggs, served in its own mini skillet. There’s also a McMuffin Camembert with bacon and a wedge of cheese but no egg; McMorning Chicken, a fried-chicken patty on a bun (not a muffin) with lettuce, tomato and mayo; and McMorning Country, which combines pork sausage, egg, bacon, cheese, tomato, lettuce and an “aromatic sauce” on a bun.
If the menu fixes in the U.S. and Germany don’t work, perhaps McDonald’s will borrow the promotional idea its Japanese affiliate is about to launch to build lunch business. There, McDonald’s is promising it will give a coupon for a free Big Mac to any customer who isn’t served their order within 60 seconds after paying. The offer will run from Jan. 4 through Jan. 31, 2013, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at all 3,300 Japanese locations. Even McDonald’s hits the 1-minute goal, it reportedly will give everyone a coupon for a free regular coffee.