McDonald’s has ambitious plans for U.S. growth this year, with high hopes for the fresh beef Quarter Pounder launching mid-year, the expansion of Mobile Order & Pay and McDelivery (with UberEATS), in addition to upgrading more stores with its “Experience of the Future” array of digital features and personalized customer journey.
But first, starting today, it’s bringing back its Dollar Menu as the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, updating its value meal to include $1 options (such as the Cheeseburger or McChicken); $2 items (including Bacon McDouble, Sausage McGriddles); and, for $3, a tier of items including Classic Chicken Sandwich or Happy Meal.
After an 11-year run, McDonald’s discontinued its original Dollar Menu in 2013, relaunching it as the Dollar Menu & More that November. Also in 2013, Wendy’s realigned its value menu while a year later, Taco Bell debuted its $1 Dollar Cravings Menu. Burger King has a Value Menu, while Dairy Queen, KFC and Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s all offer $5 meal deals.
“As a result of it being one price point, it was fairly limited in terms of what you could put on it,” McDonald’s USA President Chris Kempczinski told USA Today last year. “We’ve always known customers love the idea of value at McDonald’s. That’s never changed. What’s evolved is they want more choice.”
The new lower-priced menu is being promoted with a sweepstakes:
The $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu is finally here! So to celebrate, we’re giving you the chance to win BIG! Watch our video to see how you can win prizes. pic.twitter.com/Xtj9LJlLUA
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) January 4, 2018
…and a new ad campaign including these spots announcing the overall new menu:
…plus product-specific spots:
As McDonald’s noted in a press release,
The new $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu will kick off the New Year and offer customers several delicious and craveable McDonald’s items at a compelling price. The new menu continues McDonald’s progress of changing for the better through positive updates such as All Day Breakfast, Signature Crafted Recipes with premium toppings, delivery on UberEATS, a new café-quality McCafé espresso menu and more.
“We built this new menu with variety and value firmly in mind,” said Chris Kempczinski, president, McDonald’s USA. “Our new value menu includes surprises like our completely new Classic Chicken sandwich, the inclusion of our Happy Meal and more. Whatever our guests crave – a delicious meal, a new taste, a mid-day snack or a family treat – they will find that $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu provides them with value and choice.”
The $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu has three simple price points with thousands of possible combinations and will be available nationwide at participating restaurants beginning January 4. Each tier provides guests with breakfast, burger, chicken and beverage options. Specifically, the new menu includes the following options*:
$1 menu items: Sausage Burrito, McChicken, Cheeseburger, any size soft drink
$2 menu items: Sausage McGriddles, 2-piece Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, Bacon McDouble, small McCafé beverage**
$3 menu items: Sausage McMuffin with Egg, new Classic Chicken Sandwich, Triple Cheeseburger, Happy Meal
This marks the first time McDonald’s has included the Happy Meal on a nationwide value menu. McDonald’s is also using $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu to introduce the new Classic Chicken Sandwich, which features a buttermilk crispy chicken filet made with all white meat served on a toasted bun with pickles and the recently introduced creamy, sweet and tangy Signature Sauce.
Like all of McDonald’s national sandwiches, the bun for the Classic Chicken Sandwich has no high-fructose corn syrup, and like every chicken item McDonald’s serves in the United States, the chicken filet is made from chicken not treated with antibiotics important to human medicine.
Kevin Ozan, McDonald’s CFO, previewed the new menu offering at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer & Retail Conference in November:
“When we came off Dollar Menu a while back, one of the challenges was we didn’t have a good replacement for it. And so that’s where you would have seen a few years ago where we lost some guest counts. What we have certainly concluded is we need to have every day predictable value that customers can rely that when they come in the restaurant, there is going to be something at specific price point. And so we started with McPick 2—there has been some McPick 2 for $2, some McPick 2 for $5, but it again gives people some choice and flexibility at specific price points.
That will likely evolve into our next value platform, which will be what we call [our] $1, $2, $3 menu. So you’ll see items at a dollar, items at $2 and items at $3. And the way Chris Kempczinski, who’s our U.S. President talks about it is, we need to compete on value. We don’t necessary want to win on value, meaning I’m not looking to be at the lowest price, because we think that’s kind of a race to the bottom. But we have to be able to compete on value and not lose on value. So this platform gives us the ability to pulse items in or out, depending on inflation, depending on competitive pressures, depending on a lot of other variables. And so we’re able to put products in or out depending on how that menu offering is doing.”