Hungry for a hit, McDonald's adds McWraps

The new chicken sandwich has a big job, considering the Golden Arches' recent uncharacteristic struggles.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 21, 2013 12:17PM
McDonald's new chicken McWrap sandwich wrap (© AP Photo/McDonald's)McDonald's (MCD) today unveiled the McWrap, the newest permanent addition to its menu. According to Advertising Age, the Golden Arches considers the new lunch item a "Subway buster." Whether it will live up to the hype remains to be seen.

The chicken wrap sandwich comes in three varieties, Chicken & Bacon, Sweet Chili Chicken and Chicken & Ranch, and will be available starting April 1. Customers can choose to have their chicken fried or grilled, and the wraps are expected to sell for $3.99.

Wall Street doesn't seem too impressed with the offering. Shares of the Oakbrook, Ill., fast-food colossus were little changed in morning trading on Thursday. Nonetheless, expectations are high for the McWrap.

"McDonald's is hoping the McWrap, a chicken wrap that includes romaine lettuce, cucumbers and three sauces customers can choose from, will appeal to young people and those who have a health-conscious mindset and appreciate customizable products," says Ad Age.


If Subway is the target, the McWrap may not be an easy sell given that Subway is a formidable competitor. It eclipsed McDonald's in 2011 as the world's largest restaurant chain when measured by locations, with 37,000 franchises in 99 countries. Subway co-founder Fred DeLuca has a fortune estimated by Forbes at $2.6 billion. Although the Milford, Conn., company is privately held and doesn't report earnings, its profits are probably nowhere near what McDonald's earns. 

Burger King (BKW) and Wendy's (WEN) have gotten better by copying McDonald's and adding more healthy items to their menus. Another strong competitor is Chick-fil-A, a privately held chain that emphasizes service, a rarity in the fast-food industry. Chick-fil-A reported that sales rose 12% last year to $4.6 billion even though it endured a maelstrom of negative publicity over its opposition to gay marriage.

Investors are hoping the McWrap gives McDonald's a much-needed shot of favorable publicity, given that consumers haven't shown much enthusiasm for Fish McBites, another new product. McDonald's reported a 1.5% decline in February global same-store sales, a key metric of revenue of stores open at least a year. The drop-off in the U.S. was 3.3% in 2012, though when a calendar shift is excluded, sales were flat.

Last year, McDonald's stunned Wall Street when it posted its first decline in monthly sales in nine years and replaced the head of its U.S. operations as a result. So, a lot is riding on the new McWrap.

Jonathan Berr owns a small stake in McDonald's. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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106Comments
Mar 21, 2013 12:37PM
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Instead of coming up with all this "new" crapola, they should try to make their signature items better.  I'd eat a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder if it was good.  The tiny little hockey puck patties and stale buns are what's driving people away. 
Mar 21, 2013 1:28PM
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healthy? The grilled one is listed at 2100 mg sodium, 2300 is the maximum daily limit reccomended, with 1500 being a better target. Health does not just mean calories. And 16 g fat in a grilled chicken product!? May as well eat a Big Mac.
Mar 21, 2013 3:20PM
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Whenever McDonalds is mentioned, I get a kick out of all the people that respond so negatively, if you don't like the place, don't go there.  There has to be some other thing bothering all these people, I don't think it's McDonalds menu.  It's kind of entertaining to see the response that I know is coming.
Mar 21, 2013 1:40PM
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"Chick-fil-A . . .  even though it endured a maelstrom of negative publicity over its opposition to gay marriage."

 

Your liberal negative bias against this fine business is showing.   He never said anything against gay marriage.  It's president merely stated his vies that marriage is between one man and one woman.

 

Your statement is dishonest.  You owe Chick-fil-A an apology.

Mar 21, 2013 12:37PM
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I'm waiting for the double bacon cheeseburger wrap......
Mar 21, 2013 1:55PM
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This thing is gross looking.  People go to McDonald's for burgers, fries, shakes and Cokes.  Make those items better, and people will come and pay.  I swear the so called "Big" Mac gets smaller every year.  And the fries were better when they were made with lard in the oil mix.  NOBODY goes to McDonald's because it's healthy. 
Mar 21, 2013 1:44PM
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As a side note Chick-fil-A ran out of food from all that negative publicity.
Mar 21, 2013 1:39PM
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I have a feeling the McWrap will be a McFlop!!!!
Mar 21, 2013 2:47PM
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They're releasing these April 1st?  Is this some kind of joke?
Mar 21, 2013 12:58PM
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Pet peeve.... All these financial reports seem impressed that Subway passed McD's as the largest restaurant chain.  But they don't give a minute's worth of attention to the cost per unit for opening a Subway vs a McDonald's.   90% of all Subway restaurants are store fronts in existing structures, where as the same percentage of McDs are ground up contruction.   The cost for building a Subway restaurant is a percentage of the cost of building a McDonald's.   Its easy to claim the title of most chains when it costs nickels to build them.   As for the food, I try (that's try) to avoid both as I find them two sides of the same coin.
Mar 21, 2013 2:46PM
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Is there a vegetarian option?  For less than $3.99?  I can get a foot-long (two meals for me) veggie sub @ Subway for $5--with a LOT more veggies than just lettuce and cukes. 
Mar 21, 2013 5:52PM
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I hate to confuse anyone with the facts, but.... McDonald's business model is fast food. Burgers, fries, etc. If you're looking for healthy, home cooked food, guess what? You won't find it in a drive thru. The average target time for a drive thru is 3.5 minutes. Then of course, we have those picking apart the article by droning on and on about competitors barely mentioned. And we wonder why our society is in such a downward spiral. Want the reason? Look no further than these comment sections.
Mar 21, 2013 2:03PM
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KFC had the best crispy chix wraps for a while about a year ago. Then stopped selling them?? They werent cheap either, about $4, but they were GOOD!

SO McD's wraps will be a hit, especially if they are a meal in hand. McD's chix sandwiches are also very good, compared to JIB-I couldn't finsih a JIB chix sandwich. It was terible, like rubber chunks mashed into a patty.

carl Jr's also had the best chix sandwich [crsipy bacon swiss] then changed it to "hand-breade filets" which were way smaller and less meaty/tasty. Wendy's chix sandwiches are also damn good but cost $6? WTF?
Mar 21, 2013 1:59PM
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This is just another time McD has tried to get us to spend more money.  Stay with the inexpensive stuff that we all enjoy !!!  Hard to get change from a $20 there any more !!!
Mar 21, 2013 12:46PM
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They're basically a salad in a wrap. They're huge!

Mar 21, 2013 4:55PM
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I actually was given a McWrap the last time I was at Mc Donald's and answered questions about it afterwards. They are pretty good. The quality is there, but I doubt I would buy one. When I think McDonalds I think burgers not chicken. 
Mar 21, 2013 4:07PM
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I see the McWrap sitting along side the McDLT. Ah the fond memories of the hot side being hot and the cold side being cold...
Mar 21, 2013 6:46PM
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I will order a grilled chicken wrap. Be my first trip to Macs except for coffee in years.
Mar 21, 2013 2:27PM
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I don't eat McAnything. That food is horrible! Why not get back to making real food instead of this garbage McD's is serving now?
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