Forget Hamburglar, McDonald’s menu brings back fan favorite item

In recent years, McDonald’s has reached back to its past to get parents who grew up in the 1980s and ’90s to revisit the brand with their kids. That has included using some of its classic characters in new ways.

The chain has had huge hits with its adult Happy Meals, where it partnered with trendy designers to offer versions of its kids classics with a twist. For the most recent version of that offering, McDonald’s (MCD) – Get Free Report partnered with the entertainer and streetwear designer Kerwin Frost, a self-proclaimed super-fan of the chain.

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Those Happy Meals included adult-sized food portions along with a collectible “McNugget Buddy” collection. Frost’s McNugget Buddies were versions of the classic characters used to promote Chicken McNuggets in TV ads when they were first introduced in the early ’80s. 

That effort followed a previous Adult Happy Meal. Here, the chain partnered with Cactus Plant Flea Market for Happy Meals that offered toys that celebrated classic McDonald’s characters, including Grimace and Hamburglar.

The Cactus Plant partnership reignited interest in McDonald’s classic characters and led to the wildly successful Grimace Shake. Now, the chain has decided to bring back another shake, which was once also loosely tied to Grimace.

McDonald’s is bringing back the Shamrock Shake.

Image source: McDonald’s

McDonald’s brings back the Shamrock Shake

McDonald’s first launched the Shamrock Shake in 1970. That makes it one of the oldest, if not the oldest, recurring fast food limited-time offers.

For years, the Shamrock Shake used Grimace’s Uncle, the aptly named Uncle O’Grimacey, to promote the shake, which came out around St. Patrick’s Day each year. 

He first appeared in 1975 and was generally shown wearing traditional Irish attire. The character last appeared in 1985 and McDonald’s has repeatedly made media statements saying that it had no plans to bring Uncle O’Grimacey back.

So, while Grimace’s beloved uncle won’t be back, the shake he’s associated with will make an early return to the McDonald’s menu.

“The Shamrock Shake and McFlurry Return to McDonald’s on Monday! (February 5th),” the Snackolator Instagram page reported.

“I think this might be the earliest that Shamrock Season has started, but I am all for it as these are two of the best seasonal releases from McDonald’s! A McDonald’s employee confirmed the date which is great because we are only a few days away.”

McDonald’s bets big on digital

In addition to using special promotions to drive sales, McDonald’s has been working to push its customers to adopt its app. That effort has been driven partly by offering app-only deals and creating specific digital experiences.

McDonald’s Chief Financial Officer Ian Borden addressed his chain’s digital efforts during its third-quarter-earnings call.

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“In our top six markets, digital sales represented more than 40% of systemwide sales, or nearly $9 billion for the third quarter,” he said. 

“We now have over 57 million 90-day active members across these top markets, and our relationship with them continues to grow. We’re learning when they visit, how they visit, and what they buy, with more and more of our sales coming through identified channels than ever before.”

Borden made clear that the company would continue to invest in digital because it pays off in multiple ways.

“By continuing to elevate the McDonald’s digital experience, our customers feel more connected to the brand, driving those incremental visits that we believe would otherwise go uncaptured. And it gives us more ways to reunite with customers who haven’t visited us in a while,” he said.

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