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McDonald’s Uses Social Media for Menu Development

"Build your own burger and become famous" is the Mein Burger pitch. These are the finalists.

What should your next burger be? Ask your customers. McDonald’s is trying out social media as a means to involving consumers in the tricky business of menu R&D.

In Germany, the “Mein Burger” (My Burger) promotion invited consumers to create their own McDonald’s burger. One finalist is a meatloaf-style patty and potato salad combo on a McRib bun. Perhaps fearing such possibilities, the chain in The Netherlands has begun a promotion that simply asks consumers to use social-media sites to determine which past burger should be brought back to the menu as a limited-time special.

The My Burger promotion in Germany narrowed the field from 116,468 entries to five finalists before the Just Stevinho (breaded chicken patty, herb sauce and cucumber) won with 143,552 Facebook likes. But all five finalists are getting menu tryouts, beginning (June 22-29) with the N.Y. Cheesebeef. A TV commercial (at left) features its creator, Mario K.,  proudly telling young women at a McDonald’s, “My burger!” The Just Stevinho chicken burger is up next (June 30 to July 6), followed (July 7-13) by the McBrezel (McPretzel). This combines a shmear of potato salad, onions and cheese with a meatloaf (Bayerischer Leberkäse) patty on a McRib bun. That would have gotten my vote, just for audaciousness.

The other finalists are the Tanja Grilled Chicken Barbecue (July 14-20), with corn, pepper-Jack cheese, lettuce and barbecue sauce and grilled chicken patty on a McRib bun. Finally, there’s the Big Flavor, with jalapenos, bacon and grilled onions, from July 21 to 27.

The Dutch promotion, called “Return of Your Favorite Burger,” lines up 16 past LTOs and invites consumers to vote for the one they’d like to see back on the menu. Those blasts from the past—which suggest the Dutch are getting far more funky burger choices from McDonald’s than we are—include the double-decker McAmerika; McOriental on pita; Vegas Classic with bacon and pepper cheese; and the Chicago Works with bacon, Cheddar and salsa.

But the top three Favorite Burgers vote-getters so far are pretty straightforward: the McDeluxe (with lettuce, tomato, onions, cucumber and Cheddar); the Greek Mac (yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onion on pita bread) and the Fondue (beef and Emmentaler cheese on ciabatta).  Consumers can vote for any of the 16 via Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. The three finalists will be determined July 15; the winning burger goes on the menu in October.
© BurgerBusiness.com, 2011.

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