Top 10 McDonald’s Fails

Top 10 McDonald’s Fails

August 14, 2019 55 By Bertrand Dibbert


Founded in 1940 as a hamburger stand, McDonald’s
became a shining example of America’s fast food industry as it invaded strip malls and
cities. Today, McDonald’s can now be found in 120
countries. Despite this success, it has not stopped them
from being the butt of all jokes on Wendy’s Twitter account (like a petty little sister,
she’s relentless). As not everything always goes as planned let’s
discuss the top 10 McDonald’s fails. McSoup McSoup is not only the least appealing McDonald’s
item in a long, long time, it’s also just Campbell’s Soup poured into a red cup with
Golden Arches to justify the prefix. The McSoup is sold in Campbell’s Broccoli
& Cheese and Chicken Noodle variants, available only in the winter in select locations. While the item may have been a bid to imitate
its more domestic rivals, it was pulled from the menu because it was also, well, pretty
terrible. Its thick consistency and moldy taste just
made it a very unprofitable venture, and for America’s own good, Campbell’s Soup cans
shall, fortunately, continue to be confined to only cans. McDonald’s In Vietnam Yes, McDonald’s can’t fit a country between
two buns as hard as it might try, but its debacle in Vietnam definitely qualifies to
be a part of this list. As a fast food chain with over 36,000 locations
across the world, McDonald’s could manage only a meagre 17 in the Southeast Asian country. Why? Because the Vietnamese are spoilt for choice. When McDonald’s entered the market in 2014,
natives of the country thronged its locations because of its novelty amongst the usually
indigenous cuisine, but over the years, the popularity of the restaurant chain has waned,
largely owing to its local competition. Street vendors in Vietnam sell rivaling, faster,
and cheaper fast food like pho or banh mi sandwiches. But this hasn’t held the restaurant back. In the past 4 years, McDonald’s has introduced
a number of items into its Vietnamese menu to appeal to the locals, including a Grilled
Pork Rice with Egg item, but mimicry of available and cheaper options a stone’s throw away
from their locations has ensured that raking in customers is still difficult. To make its mark in Vietnam, not only does
McDonald’s need to up its game, but it also has to factor in the political disenfranchisement
between USA and Vietnam (Westernization is seen with a contempt that is nearly 50 years
old). While franchises like KFC and Pizza Hut prosper
in the country (They feature shareable food and many chicken items, which Vietnamese families
value), the burger giant pales in the country’s international cuisine market. McD’s Big N’Tasty If you’re going to copy another fast-food
giant, well, the dish better be big and tasty. Forever at loggerheads with its competition,
McDonald’s attempts to replicate the success of Burger King’s Whopper are a long-winding
story of love, revenge, and pain. Both fast food giants have taken every chance
to throw very public and very amusing airs at each other (The Whopper Detour, Burger
King’s McWhopper invitation to end bad blood, and so on), but their best and most successful
jabs are just good ol’ imitation burgers. The Big N’ Tasty attempts to mimic the Whopper
in every sense, complete with the dill pickles and sesame seed bun. And while the product itself was not exactly
a failure, the adaptation doesn’t remotely live up to the real thing. This isn’t even McDonald’s first attempt
at copying Burger King – earlier failures such as McDLT and BigXtra did little to deter
them. During its 14-year run (it may have been a
failure, but it was an enduring one), the burger jumped between different menus (Displacing
the BigXtra first, then featuring on the Dollar Menu, and then eventually ending up being
wiped off the menu in 2011) and just like its previous brothers, was a result of McDonald’s
true desire to be a good, dedicated, and plagiaristic rival. Available in over 10 variants (the most significant
variation being a different sauce), the Big N’ Tasty was sold in all continents when
first introduced, but today it’s still only available in a few select Scandinavian countries. McDonald’s Hula Burger Because everything how-did-that-pineapple-get-in-here
in a dish is Hawaiian, the Hula Burger’s etymology speaks for itself. But it was meant to be competition for the
way more popular Filet-o-Fish, and the burger collapsed shortly upon its release. Created to draw in the Catholic crowd on Fridays
who abstain from meat, the Hula burger was just pineapple and cheese in a bun. The burger, introduced in the 1960s, failed
to attract even its target consumers, and gradually fizzled out of the McDonald’s
menu. Its newer meatless counterparts, such as the
Egg McMuffin, prove that the Hula burger was just a lack of an understanding of the customer’s
tastes, and not necessarily a bad concept to begin with. McDonald’s Radio Silence Let’s face it, when you’re a giant corporation
with a worldwide presence, you’re going to collect a lot of haters, especially local
competition. Although fast food chains like Wendy’s trolling
McDonald’s practically look like jealous younger siblings, the popcorn-demanding frolic
is just too funny to ignore. Especially when McDonald’s chooses the radio-silence-way-out. In the past, Wendy’s has aired a number
of insults at McDonald’s (Frozen food jokes? Check. Typos? Check. Broken Ice Cream machines? Check.), very much aware of the clichés that
McDonald’s has unintentionally carved for itself in pop culture. Wendy’s even threw shade on the Golden Arches
in a tweet by HBO about Sopranos, saying ‘nasty patties’ are only available under the big
yellow sign). But while throwing dirt at other companies
is incredibly easy with social media platforms as perfect battlegrounds, McDonald’s radio
silence in response to these digs is rather… boring. Even its response to Burger King’s McWhopper
invitation is just so utterly dull. When McDonald’s faces backlash (Such as
the limited Mulan sauce that sold for a day and failed a majority of its customers) it
frequently chooses the silent, or better, one-sentence way out. With so many corporations throwing obvious
shade at the company, does McDonald’s need a PR revamp, or is it simply the uncaring
Godfather quietly chuckling into its knuckles? McLobster Yes, I’d like lobster stuffed in a poorly
toasted hot dog bun with lettuce, celery, mayonnaise, and lemon flavoring. Remember when you were hankering for a McLobster
at 12 AM? Neither do we. Introduced as a novelty item during its Great
Canadian Taste Adventure, the McLobster is a testament to just how far McDonald’s will
go to ensure customer satisfaction. Or not. With dollops of mayonnaise that made the claw
meat seem like sides, the dish was a failure. While lobster is considered the Great North’s
most valuable seafood export, it’ll take McD much more than a hot-dog bun roll to envelop
the wide palette of tastes the seafood provides (when done well). A seasonal item made of 100% Atlantic lobster,
the roll was also plagued with supply issues and was not profitable overall. The dish is a perfect example of McDonald’s
unrelenting attempts to ‘fit in’ to the cuisine of different nations. But much like the McSpicy Paneer of India
or Bulgogi burger of South Korea, the McLobster falls Mcflat. But that hasn’t stopped McDonald’s from
serving Atlantic Canadians with the McLobster roll for a staggering 26 years since 1993. The item today adorns posters across the Great
North throughout the summer, and even the more uninterested customers cannot help but
feel a certain pull to the picture-perfect seeming delicacy (But misleading McDonald’s
pictures are for another story altogether.) The McLobster is on the menu for as long as
“supplies last”, so you might want to hurry if you want to give it a shot – or
take your time. A long, long time. McD’s Constant Media Flak No one goes to McDonald’s for the health
benefits. There is empirical data (that you can experience
for yourself if you’re persistent enough) that clearly shows that the long-term McDonald’s
dining experience badly affects your cholesterol levels, liver, heart, and overall wellness. Regardless of the truthfulness of the claims,
documentaries that highlight these facts in painstaking detail have harangued the fast-food
giant for decades. Media outlets are constantly attacking the
restaurant for its unhealthy food, poorly treated employees, and failed menu items,
and other restaurants have no qualms about trolling the organization. But it isn’t unasked for. With McNuggets that melt, salads with poop,
fries with natural beef flavorings, extra-sugary ice-creams and parfaits, and salads fattier
than burgers, its unending health failures invite scrutiny and the disdain of the health-conscious. But apart from its obviously unhealthy menu
items, many of McDonald’s widely known publicity gaffes can be attributed to its scale. It is inevitable that a single mistake taints
the entire corporation’s value in the international market. But the flak isn’t always bad for McDonald’s. In fact, even though a majority of its coverage
is regarding its health risks and occasional tactlessness, any publicity that an unbreakable
corporation with annual revenue of $22.8 billion receives is good publicity. Foreign Objects (McDonald’s Real Secret
Menu) Food scandals are a regular Tuesday for McDonald’s,
but foreign objects are a rarer entity in this list of debacles. Bits of plastic, metal, and even a human tooth
have adorned its menu in its 80-year tenure in the fast food business. Japan seems to have been the hardest hit by
McDonald’s foreign objects menu, and the Senior Executive for McDonald’s in Japan,
along the same vein of his Western contemporaries, dismissed them as an outsider’s job or as
isolated cases that don’t reflect the quality of McDonald’s itself. But Japan’s stray cases are not a stray
case. Evil super-geniuses with top-secret access
to McDonald’s food production management have been stuffing food with nails, vinyl,
metal, plastic, and human enamel for decades. A Big Mac in Melbourne was once infested with
maggots. Plastic in Chicken McNuggets in Thailand and
a spear in orange juice that went down an unsuspecting patron’s throat in New York
are a few of the many lawsuits in inedible-object form that have troubled the fast-food chain
and its patrons alike. McAfrika Ah, good old tone-deafness and bad timing. Released in 2002, this item on our list deserves
a special status because it didn’t fail in taste (we’ll get to that later) as much
as it did in theme. That’s right, released during a major famine
in the African countries Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland
(now known as Eswatini), the McAfrika was either a tongue-in-cheek naming gag or just
cringeworthy innocence. To top it off, the item was released only
in Norway, one of the richest countries in the world. But the weirdness doesn’t end just there. The item was also used as a tradeable and
limited edition Olympic Games Burger and was made available again in 2008 during the Beijing
Olympics, only to be met, once again, with extreme criticism. The backlash in 2002 actually made McDonald’s
set up donation boxes in select locations across the country. Acknowledged by the spokesperson as a gaffe
on the company’s part, the product was nonetheless sold until September 2002, as had been planned,
and was sold in 2008 along with an ‘exotic African sauce’ this time. Needless to say, no one was impressed. McDonald’s Viral Disasters The infamous pink slime, also affectionately
called poultry paste, or mechanically separated meat, is a phenomenon on its own, a perfect
combination of myth, social media inflation, and quite possibly the truth. But what is impossible to ignore is the fact
that no matter McDonald’s stubborn refusal that its chicken nuggets first look like giant
strawberry ice cream gel, chemical additives, and obviously unhealthy practices are recurrent
themes in its behind-the-scenes recipes. Although McDonald’s dispelled the viral
image by releasing a video that details how McNuggets are actually made, the damage had
been done, and McDonald’s finally had to admit that it stopped using mechanically separated
meat only in 2011. Another few viral examples are the ‘moldy
burger’, for which the poor patron was offered 15 pounds in refunds, and unclean ice cream
trays, floors, and bathrooms that each led McDonald’s into spiralling PR disaster. But as always, McDonald’s emerges to be
the resilient tardigrade of fast food restaurants. With hundreds of millions of charity donations,
employment of 1.5 million people, and a global presence strong enough to sway widespread
opinion with a click of its fingers, McDonald’s is a living and breathing concept more than
it is a restaurant. The truth is, McDonald’s had us at ‘Hello,
what can I get for you?’. We’ll never stop loving it. And we’ll never stop loving all of you BabbleToppers
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