From Burger King to Taco Bell, major fast-food chains are always testing out exciting new menu items that are only available in certain parts of the country. But if you've ever hoped to see more specialty regional items from the fast-food giant McDonald's, you might be out of luck, according to a Golden Arches insider.
Regional fast-food launches typically feature experimental new items that are only available in a couple of select American cities for a limited time. For example, Burger King tested a new Bacon Jam Brisket Whopper in Las Vegas and Minneapolis this past spring, while Taco Bell began testing new Cheesy Street Chalupas in the Indianapolis, Ind., market last month.
Mike Haracz, a former McDonald's corporate chef who frequently posts insider info and ordering tricks on TikTok (@chefmikeharacz), just shared a new video about the chain's stance on regional launches. In it, he discussed why McDonald's doesn't launch more regional menu items that are only available in some parts of the country—and the answer comes down to two key factors.
For one, he said that McDonald's was able to become as popular as it is because of how consistent it is. All McDonald's restaurants in the United States pretty much boast the same menus and equipment, as well as the same training for their employees. If the chain were to try to start offering more items that are exclusive to different regions across the country, that would come at the cost of consistency.
"Every time you do a new regional thing, it disrupts the system," Haracz said.
The other key element is that regional menu items aren't as lucrative for McDonald's as ones that it offers nationally.
"The more regional little items that actually don't sell as much as a national launch, again, [are] not as profitable because McDonald's is not making as much as they could or should. So McDonald's corporate very much frowns upon regional specialties because it is not as profitable for them and they want that cash money," he said.
To be clear, McDonald's does launch special regional items every now and then. Earlier this month, for example, it brought back its famous McRib in select markets after retiring it from menus last year. Still, Haracz' TikTok indicates that customers shouldn't expect to see McDonald's launch limited regional items more frequently in the future.
Haracz discussed McDonald's aversion to regional specialties shortly after going viral last week with another video about why the chain's American menus aren't as "exciting" as McDonald's menus in other countries. Haracz explained that the majority of McDonald's business comes from its American market. So when McDonald's wants to debut a new menu item nationally in the United States, the high demand can potentially change the market value or completely deplete global supplies of an ingredient. It's easier for McDonald's to secure the volume of ingredients it needs to launch exciting new menu items in other countries because they represent a smaller part of its business, Haracz said.