McDonald's stuck with 10 million pounds of wings

The company didn't sell enough in its fall promotion and now has them in frozen storage. Here are 4 reasons they flopped.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 19, 2013 12:56PM
Handout photo from McDonald's showing the restaurant's By Ashley Lutz, Business Insider

McDonald's (MCD) has 10 million pounds of Mighty Wings it needs to sell soon. 

The wings, which represent 20% of the chicken wings produced for a promotion, are in frozen storage, writes Julie Jargon at The Wall Street Journal


McDonald's was "unable to sell enough," according to Jargon. 


Earlier this year, CEO Don Thompson said that the chicken wings aren't the smash success it had hoped for. 


While Mighty Wings apparently met internal targets, the item was "was not strong enough to offset" weak sales trends, Thompson said on a conference call. 


Here are some of the reasons they flopped:

  • Price: In McDonald's terms, Mighty Wings are a premium product. The wings come in packs of three for $3.69, five for $5.59, and 10 for $9.69. Thompson said the prices, which are similar to Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), were “not the most competitive."
  • Spice: Thompson said the wings were too spicy for many customers' tastes. 
  • Appearance: The Mighty Wings looked too much like "McNuggets with bones," writes Susan Berfield at Bloomberg Businessweek. 
  • Economy: Many McDonald's customers are still struggling financially -- and are more likely to spend their hard-earned money on a tried-and-true favorite. 
The fast food giant is currently implementing a plan to get rid of the wings. 


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Tags: BWLDMCD
465Comments
Dec 19, 2013 2:15PM
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I would be interested in buying 3 or 4 pounds for my Super Bowl Party.  Can pay $2.99 per lb.  Cooked and delivered.  Hope that helps!

Seriously, over $1 for a half of a wing and no beer or dancers..  It was a flop before it started.

Dec 19, 2013 2:10PM
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The Wings were actually quite good but as noted, too spicy at times. Some times too greasy. Of course, the biggest reason for failure, Too Costly for just Wings. Too many other value items available for it to succeed at those price levels.
Dec 19, 2013 2:35PM
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I liked the wings, but thought they were too expensive for what they were.

Dec 19, 2013 1:29PM
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Wow, and the CEO gets paid to make those kind of bad decisions... I could have told him that just looking at the dang things.
Dec 19, 2013 1:54PM
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Hmmm... a five second sanity check would say:
1.  McDonald's brand = bland and hence doesn't fit the Buffalo style chicken wing image.  This could possibly be overcome by a serious marketing campaign (e.g. Carl's Junior), which McDonald's obviously didn't commit to.  Changing public perception of a core image is very costly.
2.  The offering looks more like KFC's than McDonald's, and further is a laughable comparison to Buffalo Wild Wings' fare (imagine replacing "Where's the Beef?" with "Where's the Buffalo sauce?")
3. McDonald's cost is at least 50% too high; customers of Buffalo Wild Wings pay a very high price for their wings for the overall experience (sports on TV, beer, 20-30 something clientele, etc) in addition to the wings
4.  If this is blatantly obvious to an aerospace engineer like myself, what were the McDonald's executives thinking?

Dec 19, 2013 2:25PM
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donate them, just because people wont pay for them doesn't mean hungry people wont eat them! I wouldn't even try them at that price id sooner pick up some chicken for 2.89 a pound at the local butcher and drown it in some franks red hot!
Dec 19, 2013 2:21PM
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     NOW LETS ASK MCDONALDS THIS QUESTION.  SHOULD K,F,C, SELL CHEAP HAMBURGERS?  YOU SAY NO.  THEN STAY OUT OF THE CHICKEN BUSINESS.  IM VOLUNTEERING TO BE C.E.O. FOR HALF THE SALARY.
Dec 19, 2013 3:06PM
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Avid wing eaters look for wings that are $0,60 or below. Even Buffalo Wild Wings has their $0.50 wings specials. Why would anyone pay more for McDonalds when they can get better wings with more variety for a cheaper price?
Dec 19, 2013 2:15PM
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Well if McD's don want dem wings, Mama will eat em!!!

Dec 19, 2013 2:06PM
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my god they're a dollar a piece they go for $3.99 for 10 at food lion $5.28 a pound at wallmart what makes mcdonalds think they'res are better  whats stupids name we write him a letter
Dec 19, 2013 2:42PM
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ever heard of test marketing?

I am fairly sure to test market you do not start with 10 million of ANYTHING!

Dec 19, 2013 2:37PM
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Been free of McDonalds food for over 3 years and do-do-do-do-do I'm loving it!
Dec 19, 2013 1:57PM
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Cook!  Better food, eaten with family & friends and keep the household budget in tact.
Dec 19, 2013 2:01PM
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Here's the main reason.They weren't very good.I tried them twice thinking the first time I just got an old batch.But they were dry and trying to dip a wing into one of those mcnugget sauce packs was quite the challenge.The quality of the chicken was poor with a lot of fat under all the breading.Charging a buck or so a wing is great if the quality is there.
Dec 19, 2013 3:35PM
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They look like something from a banquet dinner.
Dec 19, 2013 1:35PM
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Or maybe they just failed because they suck like the rest of their food...... did anyone out there really expect them to be yummy and good for you?
Dec 19, 2013 3:43PM
Dec 19, 2013 2:20PM
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The article didn't mention that these were NOT THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL mighty wings!!! These were terrible!!!!! They altered the recipe; hence, the fail!!
Dec 19, 2013 1:40PM
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Maybe they could make them into rubber bands and sell them.  
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