McDonald's has been around for a long time. Even though it leads to the McSick Stomach and the McNausea, it's the most popular fast food chain in the United States, and while it might not be the favorite in other countries, it's still spread far and wide, like a Big Mac breeding pox or something. I can't be too hard on ol' Mickey D's, though – they are trying to clean up their act. And say what you will about their fast food, Ray Kroc and his associates did have a lot of great ideas. They also had a lot of really terrible ones. They've had an awfully lot of dishes that didn't stick to the menu and, naturally, I'm focusing on those by showing y'all some really rank McDonald's meals that thankfully didn't make it.
You'd think this would have been something McDonald's tried in France, right? Yeah, no. Inexplicably, the brains at McDonald's marketed this in Japan, where it's also known as the Gurakoro. Within the croquette, there are such … delicacies … as mashed potatoes, deep fried macaroni, and shrimp. All together. Although it still pops up on Japanese McDonald's menus every once in a while, they don't like it and it never lasts.
This is actually twofold. Back in the 1980s, McDonald's was trying to make itself a hot dinner spot and, as such, started serving pizza. However, you cannot make a good pizza in two minutes, so customers complained about the wait. Besides, their pizzas just weren't up to snuff, especially when compared with the rest of the pizza industry. As a result, the super chain scrapped the idea – and later tried to market the McPizza, which was basically a Hot Pocket but tasted even worse.
During the same dinner debacle, Mickey D's tried to push spaghetti on its customers. This did not go well. In addition to the spaghetti, there was lasagna and fettuccine Alfredo. Now, I adore Alfredo, and the idea of eating it at McDonald's makes me a little ill. Customers evidently felt the same way – about all the dinner items, as well as the sides, which included mashed potatoes and gravy. Oh, McDonald's, nothing will ever make you KFC!
You have to give McDonald's credit for trying to keep things fresh and new, and for trying to interpret cultural cuisines into its menus. But the Hula Burger was a huge flop. It was a meatless burger, and at the time, it was meant for members of the Catholic faith who didn't eat mean on Fridays. Basically, it was a piece of grilled pineapple and cheese, on a bun. Maybe if they'd tried a tofu burger or something, but that tasted as gross as it sounds. No wonder the Fillet-O-Fish did better, am I right?
But what of the McAfrika? It's actually been described as McDonald's worst marketing flop. As the name implies, it was an item released in McDonald's restaurants in Africa, around 2002. The ingredients weren't that bad – beef, tomatoes, cheese, and salad, wrapped in something like a pita. The problem? During 2002, southern Africa was experiencing a huge famine. The whole thing just seemed purely insensitive, and McDonald's PR took a huge hit. They didn't learn from the mistake either: they tried this item again in 2008, as a promotion for that year's Olympics, and the public still hated it.
This is further proof that McDonald's makes really bad choices. In theory the McLean Deluxe was a great idea. The public was introduced to it in 1991, at a time when the world was becoming more concerned about health. It was touted as being 91 percent fat free. Great, right? Sure, until the public came to know why it was so lean. It came out that Mickey D's had used both water and injections of carrageenan – seaweed, in other words – to make the burger so lean, and to keep it together. So even though it tasted okay, it just would not sell well after that.
This was another huge failure. The problem was that the Arch Deluxe was meant to be a burger for adults, so advertisements for it showed children thoroughly grossed out with the burger, and Ronald McDonald, who can sell anything, was playing all types of grown up sports in commercials and ads. No one understood. So, even though the burger seemed delicious, with the addition of bacon, onions, and secret sauce, the whole thing tanked. It tanked expensively, because all those inexplicable, confusing ads cost the chain a million dollars.
I make no bones about the fact that I love lobster. Since moving to Boston, I've seen this advertised locally, but I've never tried it. Why? Because I do not want my lobster to come from McDonald's. The general public apparently agrees. Basically, you just get lobster in a hot dog bun, some awful lettuce, and some kind of secret McLobster sauce, which sounds totally suspect. I don't think so. It still shows up in various franchises, especially in New England and Canada, but it never sells well. I wonder why.
How can you go wrong with a hot dog? Well, if your name is McDonald's, it's apparently easy. This item didn't necessarily disappear from menus because it's bad, it just had a branding problem. No one thought the hot dog was a Mickey D's kind of food, so it stalled out. However, you can still get it in Japan!
This is, of course, a recent disappearance. Customers have had the ability to super-size their food choices since 1993, and everyone loved it – a little too much. Know what killed it? Morgan Spurlock. Once people saw Super Size Me, super-sizing was finished. It's no bad thing, honestly, and I find it kind of funny, since Spurlock had a notoriously hard time getting McDonald's to comment on anything, or even talk to him.
From branding issues to bad advertising to horrible tastes, McDonald's has seen its fair share of failures. It's bound to happen when you've built yourself up to be the king of the fast food mountain. Of all these McDonald's meals that thankfully didn't make it, I don't think I'll mourn any of them. However, the McRib better not ever disappear forever; I yearn for its sporadic appearances the way I yearn for new Thomas Harris novels. Out of all the items on this list, which ones do you think sound the grossest?
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