Saucy McRib returns to McDonald's
This time, the sporadic approach of the past has been replaced with a comprehensive nationwide rollout for the cult boneless pork sandwich.
McDonald's (MCD) has been tearing it up in 2011. Shares are up 20% so far this year compared with a flat market. The company's McCafe coffee offerings have been a tasty and affordable alternative for cash-strapped consumers, and flashy upscale store redesigns and an exclusive McDonald's McTV channel look to build on current momentum.
But for some fast-food fans, the tastiest development of all is McDonald's plans to bring back the vaunted McRib sandwich in November. And this time, the sandwich will appear not just sporadically but nationwide as part of a serious rollout.
McDonald's announced Monday that the boneless barbecue pork sandwich will be sold at every U.S. location from now through Nov. 14.
While the appeal of the boneless pork patty sandwich is a head-scratcher for some folks, to others the McRib is a cult sensation. After all, if it's such a success, why pop it in and out of the marketplace instead of making the McRib permanent?
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Short-lived promotions serve a valuable purpose in the restaurant world, re-engaging old customers and reaching out to new ones. What's more, higher-end promotions can be extremely profitable. Consider the push earlier this year by Burger King to sell ribs for $7 a pop. Those were a bit pricier -- probably because they were actual ribs and not a mishmash of processed pork like the McRib -- and had some restaurant insiders shaking their heads.
Yet the BK ribs campaign was wildly successful. The chain sold out before the scheduled end of the promotion. Part of the reason for the success, industry experts say, was the novelty of the item and a new reason to consider stopping by a restaurant.
Riding that red-hot wave of initial enthusiasm is where the biggest money is made. As interest wanes, it actually can be more of a drag on the bottom line to keep in place the preparation, storage and distribution networks for an item outside the normal menu.
Of course, not all new sandwiches and snacks get that burst out of the gate. McDonald's is one of the biggest offenders, with the flop of its Arch Deluxe in 1996. It spent a fortune on production and marketing -- upward of $300 million by some estimates -- and never connected with customers.
But the McRib is almost a brand in and of itself -- just search for "McRib" on Facebook or Twitter and you'll see the loyal followers. The short window to buy this goodie only fuels the appeal.
It's worth noting that there is one market where the McRib is permanent: Germany. As for whether fans are loyal enough to travel to Berlin just for the tasty sandwich, the jury still is out.
I'm trying to avoid Lysteria tainted Melons, Lettuce and Spinach and whatever is next on the list....the McRibs give me a little more variety of cooked to death processed food....if you don't like it , don't buy it....That health food will kill you quicker than McDonalds...which takes decades
What in the world do I have to do to get my hands on a McDonald's cheddar melt.
Forget about the stupid McRib.
BRING BACK THE CHEDDAR MELT!!!
Damn, I have not been in McDonald's in months and today I went for lunch and had one McChicken..Only if I knew. Now I have to go back tomorrow. I have not done that since 1989, back to back visit to McDonald's
It was fine when they first started coming out with the McRib but the sauce is so bad now and who puts raw onions on ribs! I sent a comment to McD's saying I would never buy one again 3 months ago. This week in the mail they sent me a letter thanking me for my comment and a coupon for a free McRib. I gave it to the guy fixing my furnace.
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