McDonald's Fish McBites aren't catching customers

The new menu item is failing to boost sales, and early reviews are poor, with one decrying it as deep-fried 'yuck.'

By Aimee Picchi Mar 11, 2013 1:57PM

McDonald's Fish McBites (Courtesy of McDonalds)February wasn't a good month for McDonald's (MCD). First, it caused an outcry when it dropped Chicken Selects from its menu. Then on Friday, the fast-food chain said U.S. sales slipped last month despite the introduction of a new menu item, Fish McBites.

Part of the problem may be with the product itself, which has received poor reviews. One customer complained the fish balls resemble deep-fried "yuck" and are "the most heavily breaded fish stick you've ever eaten."

The new item is also designed to appeal to consumers worried about overfishing. They carry a label from the Marine Stewardship Council that verifies the McBites represent sustainable fishing practices. The eco-label certifies that the product uses Alaska pollock, which Mickey D's touts as wild-caught.

The restaurant is also trying to appeal to every appetite, from those of kids on up. Fish McBites are sold in three sizes -- snack, regular or shareable -- while McDonald's also brought out a Happy Meal version, representing its first new Happy Meal entree in a decade.

Despite all foodie language surrounding Fish McBites, they're not winning over customers or reviewers.

One food blog gave the product a middling grade, a 5.75 rating out of 10, which puts it at "mediocre," according to fast-food reviewing site GrubGrade. (It also dinged the dish for having a fishy "stink.") 

And customers from Alaska, where the fish are scooped from the sea, were even harsher, with some singling out the heavy breading, according to comments on the Alaska Dispatch. "They were basically fish mush deep fried with lots of breading, slight fish taste, just yuck," one commenter complained

Humorists from NPR's news-quiz show "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me" also jumped in with insults, with one satirist writing on its blog, "Just putting a 'Mc' in front of something doesn't mean it's edible. That said, I'm excited for the McHorse."


The only good news for McDonald's might be that Fish McBites were introduced as a limited-time menu item. Given the reception, it raises doubts about whether the chain will continue dishing out the deep-fried fish balls.

More on moneyNOW

Mar 11, 2013 3:19PM
"I went to McDonalds and was shocked to find mediocre food."--Signed NO ONE--- EVER
Mar 11, 2013 3:31PM
I won't try them just because of the song they sing to promote them...  FISHY FISHAAY!...  The song definitely does not make these fish bites sound good...  I say fire the advertising department...
Mar 11, 2013 3:28PM
Mar 11, 2013 3:03PM

Deep fried Lutefish. Also, some of the commercials for Fish McBites are, in a word, creepy.

Mar 11, 2013 3:16PM
Mar 11, 2013 3:18PM
I think they are failing because of the absolutely retarded hip-hop commercial.  Nobody is buying into it, and because of the horrid commercial, I have vowed never to try them.
Mar 11, 2013 3:38PM
Well this was a bad idea from the get-go!...Fried Fish has to be a certain size to hold it's moisture inside. Besides that each order must be cooked to order so that it taste good and fresh. Fish is one of those foods that does not heat up well. I know this because I am a cook and I know how sensitive fish is. If you let fried fish sit too long it is not good.... I am sure these little fish balls turn into greasy, hard, little messes,that have dried out in the middle.!!!.... We all know McDonald's is not cooking this item to order. Let's be real!!....LOL!!!....This is one of those ideas that should just go away!!!
Mar 11, 2013 3:28PM
Who thought Fish Bites would be a good idea?  Didn't they do ANY market research.
Mar 11, 2013 3:38PM
Mar 11, 2013 3:05PM
Tried them once.  They were so greasy it made my stomach hurt.
Mar 11, 2013 2:33PM

"One customer complained the fish balls resemble deep-fried "yuck"



Sounds like "Pink Slime the Sequel"

Mar 11, 2013 4:04PM
I'm sure these are whats left on the bone after all the good stuff is taken off.  Then squished into nuggets, battered and deep fried.  Regardless, it ain't natural!
Mar 11, 2013 3:40PM

McDonalds was good when they cooked the food in the store now all there food taste like it is  microwaved and the Buns are hard they used to be soft most all the McDonald in Tucson Suck

They try to keep the same taste and changed the cooking process and now I fear the food is very bad for you and the taste is not the same as it was years ago.

Mar 11, 2013 3:47PM
The super annoying ad campaign alone is enough to turn me off!
Mar 11, 2013 4:11PM
McD's also changed the chicken Mcbungholes,(aka nuggets) no longer any dark meat, all white dried out parts of chickens.  Come on you can do better!
Mar 11, 2013 2:40PM
They actually make my X's Gefilte fish sound good.
Mar 11, 2013 3:38PM
We tried them, and despite the grease-filled bites, they were not too terribly bad!  I am still alive and breathing, but will not eat them again.  I agree with many--too much grease!  Why can't McD's try baking some of their foods instead of "deep frying" everything?  Maybe the fish bites will have a much different taste and be more appealing to the consumers.
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