McDonald’s Is Updating Its Menu With a New Chicken Sandwich and Plant-Based Burger

'It will be simple, but fantastic'

mcdonalds items
McDonald's new Crispy Chicken Sandwich will be available sometime next year, while the McPlant will undergo testing during 2021. McDonald's

Let the chicken sandwich wars recommence!

After more than a year of testing, McDonald’s has finally settled on a revamped recipe for its Crispy Chicken Sandwich. Sometime next year, the new offering will roll out at the fast food chain’s U.S. restaurants, the company announced at an investor meeting this morning.

“It will be simple, but fantastic—a craveable crispy chicken fillet, topped with crinkle cut pickles and butter, all served on a toasted potato roll,” said McDonald’s in a press release. “Our customers asked for it and we can’t wait for them to get a taste.”

The announcement comes less than two weeks after southern fast food franchise Zaxby’s announced its entrance into the chicken sandwich wars, which raged during the summer of 2019 between two main players: Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s and Shake Shack. A few months ago, KFC also threw its hat into the ring.

Early this year, Business Insider reported that McDonald’s franchisees were begging the company to focus its efforts on a new chicken sandwich to compete in the viral battle for best chicken sandwich.

McDonald’s also announced a new plant-based burger, the McPlant, which “markets can adopt when they’re ready,” the company said in a press release. It expects to test the plant-based option, which was developed exclusively for McDonald’s, sometime next year.

“In the future, McPlant could extend across a line of plant-based products including burgers, chicken-substitutes and breakfast sandwiches,” said McDonald’s president, international, Ian Borden. “We believe we have a proven, delicious-tasting product. When customers are ready for it, we are ready for them.”

It’s all part of McDonald’s new growth strategy, which the brand is dubbing “Accelerating the Arches.” The plan was unveiled this morning alongside the company’s holiday campaign, “Serving Here,” which focuses on the brand’s localized charity efforts through the Ronald McDonald House.

The ad campaign includes four new spots, each of which highlights a different pillar of the campaign. The first spot, called “Here,” gives an overview of the localized focus of the campaign. “Good Neighbors” focuses on McDonald’s efforts to provide meals to first responders, “Doors” highlights the local farmers that McDonald’s sources its products from and “Everything Changes” centers on the support that the Ronald McDonald House provides to the families of children with serious illnesses.

“Customers today want to know the brands they love share their values and serve as a force for good in the world,” said McDonald’s global CMO Alistair Macrow. “Earning their trust is about acting first, and then communicating.”

The brand’s new marketing strategy will aim to tell “clearer, more effective stories that articulate the impact we have in the communities we serve, and more broadly what we stand for as a brand,” Macrow continued.

Lastly, the fast food chain also unveiled new packaging for its food and beverage products. The new modern designs will hit franchises across all its global markets over the next two years, unifying the company’s international branding.


@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.
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