McDonald’s Menu Adds an Unusual Item (a New Kind of Sandwich)

McDonald’s Menu Adds an Unusual Item (a New Kind of Sandwich)

Fast-food giant McDonald’s usually plays it safe by adding barbecue sauce or a new cheese to a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder. Not this time.

McDonald’s  at least in the U.S., tends to play it very safe with its menu and limited-time offers.

Restaurant Brands Burger King endlessly releases new, often super-weird, versions of its iconic Whopper and pioneered Chicken Fries, Satisfries, and the unique Mac n’ Cheetos, McDonald’s tends to stay basic.

Essentially, McDonald’s plays like a soccer team that has a 1-0 lead. It doesn’t need to be aggressive because it’s the clear market leader. The chain has leaned into ideas like celebrity meals and menu hacks, which don’t require new ingredients or place any stress on its kitchen.

In a broad sense, McDonald’s has made smart choices when it comes to being conservative. Its franchise operators push back whenever the chain wants to complicate the menu. That’s why the company has not brought back Snack Wraps or All-Day Breakfast even as customers openly clamor for both things.

It’s a boring recipe — but it’s one that has worked. While Burger King has focused on being outrageous, McDonald’s has focused on execution and building its digital reach.

Again, that’s the case in the U.S. If you look at the Golden Arches menu in Japan, however, you occasionally find innovations that make the wildest Whopper look about as exciting as a Big Mac with an extra slice of cheese.

McDonald’s Japan Has a Very Unusual Sandwich

Sometimes McDonald’s adds menu items in global markets that seem as if they’d fit really well in the U.S.

The Fuwa-toro Egg Demi-glace Gracoro is not one of them.

Gracoro is a  McDonald’s-created word that mashed up “gratin” and “croquette.” A croquette is a sort of dumpling that uses a binder combined with a filling that’s then deep fried.

Usually, a thick sauce, mashed potatoes, or flour is the binder and pretty much anything is a possible filling. Gratin is a broiled dish topped with bread crumbs. Potatoes au gratin is the best-known example, but anything can be under the golden, broiled crust.

That’s a lot of words and cooking techniques for a fast-food sandwich, but the Fuwa-toro Egg Demi-glace Gracoro is not your typical McDonald’s offering.

“This is a burger with a croquette filled with the mixture of macaroni and white sauce that Japan calls gratin. There’s also shrimp inside the croquette, which seems like an odd thing to exclude from a product name where brevity clearly wasn’t the goal,” Japan Today reported.

The sandwich has been offered in a variety of versions, but this latest take, which is available only in Japan, comes topped with a “fluffy” egg and a demi-glace sauce.

McDonald’s May Need More Daring in the U.S.
While McDonald’s has been bold around the world, its recent U.S. promotions include the fake retirement of the McRib, adult Happy Meals featuring collectible toys, and the return of Halloween buckets.

None of these promotions have involved menu innovation and it’s actually hard to think of the last time McDonald’s introduced something new or daring in its home market.

That’s not an accident. The pandemic led the chain to redouble its focus on efficiency so it can be a bigger player in delivery while optimizing its takeout model. Those efforts worked — but they have enabled Wendy’s (WEN) – Get Free Report to build a breakfast business, adding another contender to McDonald’s throne.

In addition, McDonald’s has largely ceded the new product/innovation headline to its rivals. Each move on its own doesn’t really hurt the king of the fast-food market but taken together, it could be death by a thousand paper cuts.

The U.S. may not need (or want) the Fuwa-toro Egg Demi-glace Gracoro, but it could use something new from under the Golden Arches.


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