McDonald's has some major plans for its menu this year, and it's calling in a nostalgic character to lend a red-gloved hand. The company announced this week that it will roll out several major upgrades for its signature burgers, including using softer toasted buns, ensuring cheese is perfectly melted, and cooking onions directly on burger patties. Some West Coast cities are already starting to get the new burgers, and as the changes are rolled out across the U.S., cities will see new commercials and other promos featuring the iconic Hamburglar.
Known for his many failed attempts to hoard McDonald's burgers, the chain is resurrecting the trouble-making yet beloved mascot to help promote the burger changes.
"When you spot his notorious cape and striped outfit in your city, you'll know that's when you can head to your local McDonald's to get your hands on our best-ever burgers," the chain said in an announcement.
The Hamburglar has only made rare appearances in McDonald's promotional material in recent years. While the mascot has traditionally been a cartoonish character dressed in striped clothing, a mask, a cape, and red gloves, the chain revamped him as a stylish grown man to help promote its limited edition Sirloin Third Pound Burgers in 2015. McDonald's also offered Hamburglar toys in the adult Happy Meals that were available for a limited time last year.
In this latest promotion for the upgraded McDonald's burgers, the Hamburglar is back to his classic cartoonish look. He has also returned to his "old burger-snatching tricks" in a brand-new McDonald's commercial about the menu changes.
The planned burger upgrades—taking effect at restaurants nationwide by 2024—will only apply to the Big Mac, McDouble, classic cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, and hamburger. This focus on McDonald's more classic offerings is no surprise since improving core menu items like its signature burgers, fries, and Chicken McNuggets is a key tenet of the chain's Accelerating the Arches growth strategy.
As it looks to the past with the Hamburglar promotion, McDonald's is also completely redesigning its future. The company reportedly shut down its offices earlier this month and laid off hundreds of corporate employees as part of a major restructuring aimed at streamlining operations.