McDonald’s Menu Adds an Answer to a Top Taco Bell Item

The fast-food giant has turned to an iconic name to challenge one of its biggest rivals.

The McDonald’s menu counts as comfort food, simply because the chain has offered the same core items since 1955. 

Yes, the menu has expanded, but it hasn’t changed all that much since Chicken McNuggets were added in 1983.

At the core of the chain’s offering is familiarity. McDonald’s (MCD) – Get Free Report has worked hard to ensure that its fries taste the same whether you are eating them in Chicago or Tokyo. When you cross the Golden Arches, the company wants you to know exactly what you’re getting, and it has done an excellent job of delivering on that promise.

DON’T MISS: McDonald’s Tests a Major Menu Change That Customers May Like

When McDonald’s adds new menu items, it generally builds on classic flavors. (That’s aside from some out-there deviations like McRib and McLobster.) It’s not a big leap from its classic menu to add barbecue sauce or put bacon someplace it previously wasn’t. Moves like that give the fast-food leader something new that’s also something familiar.

And that’s what it’s doing with its latest offering — a twist on a classic flavor that customers will immediately recognize even though it’s new on the menu.

Beverages have been a way for McDonald’s to make small menu changes that customers like.

Image source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

McDonald’s Adds Frozen Hawaiian Punch  

Few brands rival McDonald’s when it comes to name recognition. Keurig Dr Pepper’s  (KDP) – Get Free Report Hawaiian Punch may not quite be there, but it’s close: The vast majority of Americans not only know the brand, they know what it tastes like.

That makes it an easy addition to the McDonald’s menu as it requires no introduction to customers. And that may explain why Frozen Hawaiian Punch has been popping up on the chain’s website in select markets with no official announcement from the company.

“According to the description, the new Frozen Hawaiian Punch is a ‘frozen drink bursting with over eight bold, tropical fruit flavors,'” Chew Boom first reported.

McDonald’s has selectively offered frozen Coca-Cola (KO) – Get Free Report products including Coke, and a variety of Fanta flavors in certain locations. The frozen-beverage line appears set to be brought back for the summer season.

“In addition to the new Frozen Hawaiian Punch, McDonald’s is also featuring Frozen Fanta Blue Raspberry and Frozen Coca-Cola Classic for summer 2023,” the website reported.

Taco Bell Has Bet Big On Frozen Beverages

Yum Brands’  (YUM) – Get Free Report Taco Bell has made frozen beverages a key part of its menu. It offers a number of stock flavors — including Wild Cherry and Blue Raspberry as well as Mountain Dew’s  (PEP) – Get Free Report Baja Blast — while also rotating in limited-time-offer flavors on a regular basis.

Frozen beverages serve the chain’s customers in two ways. First, they’re an add-on to a meal that pushes a check higher. Second. frozen beverages also count as snacks, and their presence on the Taco Bell menu likely drives visits at times when customers might not otherwise visit the chain.   

McDonald’s has been working to drive traffic to its restaurants outside traditional meal hours. That may be part of the reason it’s adding the frozen drinks and it’s partly why it has been testing a new cold brew.

Basically, Taco Bell has long understood the idea that driving traffic outside breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours is important. That’s why it used to use the phrase “fourth meal” as a way to push people to visit later in the evening outside what would normally be considered dinner hours.

McDonald’s keeps its stores, or at least its drive-throughs, open late into the night and it sees a traffic slowdown between lunch and dinner. 

Frozen beverages — especially ones based on familiar flavors people love — should help bring in more customers during those slower periods while also pushing lunch and dinner checks higher. 

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