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McDonald's exploring changes to Dollar Menu

By Candice Choi

AP Food Industry Writer

LAST UPDATED: 09:32 a.m. HST, Sep 04, 2013

NEW YORK » McDonald's Corp. says a revamped version of its Dollar Menu that includes items priced at $5 could be launched nationally this year.

The world's biggest hamburger chain says it has been testing versions of its famous value menu that's called "Dollar Menu & More" in five markets across the country. The company noted that no official changes have yet been made to its current Dollar Menu, which was introduced more than a decade ago.

The change would come after McDonald's unsuccessful attempt last year to get customers to switch from the Dollar Menu to a pricier "Extra Value Menu," which features items costing closer to $2. But after sales flagged, the company went back to aggressively touting its Dollar Menu in TV ads.

If the new "Dollar Menu & More" is rolled out, the Extra Value Menu would be retired, said Neil Golden, chief marketing officer for McDonald's, which is based in Oak Brook, Ill.

"We didn't deliver on simplicity and clarity," Golden said of the Extra Value Menu. He said that the company realized the "Dollar Menu" was a strong brand that McDonald's could build on instead.

The results from the tests have been positive and the company is in the process of sharing the information with its more than 14,000 U.S. franchisees, he said. In order to be approved, at least 75 percent of the company's 180 marketing cooperatives across the country would need to vote for it.

The Dollar Menu & More that was tested has three price points —$1, $2 and $5 or "shareable" items such as 20-piece McNuggets. Another version that was tested has prices of $1, $1.79 and $4.99. The menu includes more chicken items, as well as versions of its burgers that come with an extra beef patty or toppings such as bacon.

Golden declined to provide specifics, but said the menu provided "a broader range of profitability" for restaurants. He said the overall percentage of sales generated by the revamped Dollar Menu in tests was "similar" to that of the Dollar Menu. McDonald's has said in the past that its Dollar Menu accounts for about 14 percent of sales.

The tests come as McDonald's and other fast-food chains have been trumpeting their value menus amid increased competition and the weak economy. Some analysts have raised concerns that the strategy could eat into profit margins. Wendy's addressed the issue earlier this year by revamping its 99-cent menu to a "Right Price Right Size" menu, with prices ranging up to around $2.

McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., has had to swap out items on its Dollar Menu over the years as costs for ingredients such as beef have climbed. When it was first introduced, for example, the flagship offering on the Dollar Menu was the Big 'N Tasty, which was made with a quarter-pound beef patty. The most substantial burger on the menu now is the McDouble, which comes with two patties and a slice of cheese. In the tests, the company said the price of the McDouble was pushed up to $1.19 in some markets.

McDonald's conducted the Dollar Menu & More tests in Fresno, Calif.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Columbia, S.C., the combined market of Hartford, Conn., Springfield, Mass. and Memphis, Tenn.

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Slow wrote:
For a novel marketing idea, McD's could rent bullet proof vests to customers as they walk in. Call them Waikiki Aloha Vests. Give a kamaina discount as locals tend to be murdered more than tourists.
on September 4,2013 | 06:39AM
2NDC wrote:
Bullet proof vests? Do they actually make such a thing? No idea what your comment has do do with this story.
on September 4,2013 | 07:34AM
PokeStop wrote:
Slow, actually has a delayed learning disability! He's still visiting the local versus mainland hate mentality. It's over dude, time to move on as the City will never get a conviction against Deedy.
on September 4,2013 | 07:43AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
The poster is slamming mcdonalds for not protecting the aggressive racist chronic that was shot there last year.
on September 4,2013 | 07:48AM
Mypualani wrote:
on September 4,2013 | 01:05PM
Or, they could give away informational cards regarding Aloha Cards in hopes of showing off our Aloha and when to recognize when to, or not to get involved in trying to break up a couple of drunks ordering fast food.
on September 4,2013 | 05:52PM
mikethenovice wrote:
They could change the name of the meal to the Last Supper.
on September 4,2013 | 06:50PM
allie wrote:
grease city
on September 4,2013 | 06:46AM
silvangold wrote:
on September 4,2013 | 02:29PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Just eat kim chee and rice. NOogrease.
on September 4,2013 | 06:51PM
loquaciousone wrote:
How about making things on the dollar menu cost a dollar?
on September 4,2013 | 07:22AM
mikethenovice wrote:
They meant that the tax on the meal is a dollar.
on September 4,2013 | 06:51PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Where's McRib? I want my faux pig processed pork leftovers with artificial grill marks and high fructose BBQ sauce. I'm not kidding - I like McRib!
on September 4,2013 | 08:04AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Actually it's all in the sauce. If you put your shoe between some buns and spread some sauce on it you can't tell the difference. Try it.
on September 4,2013 | 12:15PM
what wrote:
Where's the McRib? The last one you ate months ago might still be in your intestine. (joke)
on September 4,2013 | 01:36PM
mikethenovice wrote:
My puppies beat me to that idea. They invented the McShredded shoe.
on September 4,2013 | 06:52PM
They are quite ono-licious.
on September 4,2013 | 05:53PM
mikethenovice wrote:
on September 4,2013 | 06:51PM
false wrote:
Whatever happened to the McSaimin once sold in Hawaii?
on September 4,2013 | 08:18AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Buy 'em for fifty cent a cup at Costco and sell them for five bucks?
on September 4,2013 | 06:53PM
awahana wrote:
Ah, paradise.
Where the $5 footlong is $7.
Where you have to show the item on best buy's own web site (bringing a printed copy from home, or on your smartphone when at the local store) in order to get the $20-40 lower advertised price, since it rings up higher in-store if you're not paying attention. And when its time to return an item, they don't honor their own return policy. :(
on September 4,2013 | 08:23AM
BigOpu wrote:
I hate it when that happens. Registers not syncing up with advertisements, and the store makes you feel like you are in the wrong.
on September 4,2013 | 08:38AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Have to match the SKU number to match the one on sale. The store will often put a similar looking non sale item next to the sale item. Fooled me in the past.
on September 4,2013 | 06:55PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Where the ten dollar pizza is $17.99 and the two burgers for five is seven. Where the ninety-nine cent burrito is $1.79. They say it is due to cost of doing business in Hawaii. I call it greed.
on September 4,2013 | 10:36AM
BigOpu wrote:
Still not clear on how the double cheesburger is 99 cents and the regular cheseburger is $1.49. But that's fine with me. A bargain when you hungry and only get $5 in your pocket.
on September 4,2013 | 08:41AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
With your screen name I think we can accept your testimony as an expert witness.
on September 4,2013 | 10:26AM
2NDC wrote:
The "double cheese burger" is a lot more expensive than $.99. The "McDouble" is the one on the "Dollar Menu", which consists of two hamburger patties and a slice of cheese.
on September 4,2013 | 05:47PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Maybe the buffalo meat cost more.
on September 4,2013 | 06:57PM
mikethenovice wrote:
I pick up twenty HI5 cans and redeem them for a dollar. Then my meal is free at McDonald.
on September 4,2013 | 06:56PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I have one question for McDonald's. Why is it that you took off the Angus Third Pounder because, as you stated in a news article, the costs was not palpable to consumers and then replaced it with Specialty Quarter Pounders that cost just about the same? So, basically you tell us that we didn't like the higher cost burgers and replaced them with smaller ones for just about the same price? People are not stupid. Your shell game have and will lose you customers. I suspect that your aggressive advertising is a reflection of this.
on September 4,2013 | 10:29AM
loquaciousone wrote:
It's called Mcfibbing.
on September 4,2013 | 12:19PM
mikethenovice wrote:
It's called stock price increases.
on September 4,2013 | 06:57PM
Mahalo wrote:
The cost of a Mcdonalds Meal is now $8.00 its cheaper to go to Zippys.. yep I said it the most expensive take out joint Zippys is now becoming more affordable than McD's
on September 4,2013 | 10:31AM
silvangold wrote:
you know, you're right! I hought about the last time I did the Zippy's and the McD's..............Zips was cheaper for us 3 !!!! can't get out of McD's without AT LEAST $30 !! and tha's WITH just the 'meal'!!!!!!!!!!
on September 4,2013 | 02:25PM
mikethenovice wrote:
My dog loves the Zippy's chili with brown rice.
on September 4,2013 | 07:01PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Yea. But can't invest in Zippy's shares.
on September 4,2013 | 06:58PM
loquaciousone wrote:
I'm still wondering how you can call it a dollar menu if you need an Abe Lincoln to buy off it. George is gonna be mad.
on September 4,2013 | 12:18PM
loquaciousone wrote:
I'm still wondering how you can call it a dollar menu if you need an Abe Lincoln to buy off it. George is gonna be mad.
on September 4,2013 | 12:18PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Five bucks now only has the buying power of only a buck did a few years ago. Remember when Beef Stew plate lunch was only ten cents.
on September 4,2013 | 07:00PM
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