Not Lovin McDonalds - ©

McUPDATE: News McNuggets From The Burger Behemoth

Time for an update on minor – yet intriguing – news items from the McDonald’s file. We have the resolution of a lawsuit I wasn’t even aware of, a rant over ‘price creep’ in the ‘Dollar Menu’, and the return of an old friend. Or nemesis, depending…

Mythbuster Grant Imihara discovers how McRibs are made…

First the good news…

The McRib Sandwich is back again – for better or worse. The one-time main menu option has been on and off the list for years. Most recently, it’s been making occasional come-backs as a ‘limited-time special’.

McRib first appeared on the McMenu back in 1981 following a successful test market the previous tear. It was discontinued in 1985, apparently as a result of poor sales. Then to the delight of the staunch corps of McRib fans, the sandwich returned in 1989 and stayed until 2005. Then it was discontinued again.

Not because it wasn’t selling?

Wikipedia sates: “Speculation on the limited availability of the McRib includes theories concerning the fluctuating price and unreliable supply chains of bulk pork, manipulation of availability windows to turn the product into a better loss leader for the company, and the generation of renewed enthusiasm and higher sales as a result of scarcity.

“An informal study from 2011 entitled A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage illustrates a correlation between the price of pork and the timing of McDonald’s offering the sandwich; all five of the US McRib offerings between 2005 and 2011 occurred during low points in the price of bulk pork. According to McDonald’s, the sandwich’s limited availability is due to their desire to provide a varied menu throughout the year.”


McRib has generated a great deal of free publicity for McDonald’s over the years. Fans have been extremely vocal about its disappearances form the menu. And there’s always considerable corporate fanfare preceding its reappearances. The PR – when translated to advertising-dollar value – might have been more important to McDonald’s than the sammy’s sales.

My take

Disclosure Statement: I’ll admit I’m a ‘moderate’ McRib fan. Which means, I try to get indulge at least once any time it’s back on limited-time availability.

On the animal rights angle… I wonder why the critics singled out McDonald’s for condemnation over hog-raising practices? I guess the higher your profile, the bigger a target you are.

McD’s pays 800,000 in burn lawsuit.

Chicken McNuggets - Six-Pack - Key - © McDonald's RestaurantsI hadn’t even heard of this McLawsuit before I came across a story announcing its resolution earlier this week.

Long story short…

Four-year-old Olivia Caraballo was sitting in her mom’s car, holding a takeout order consisting of 2 Happy meals in her lap. One guesses she went into the bag looking for a treat. The court heard she was burned on the leg by a very hot Chicken McNugget that fell onto her seat. In fact, she suffered a second-degree burn. Not something you ‘fix’ with a bandaid and a kiss. However…

Olivia’s family asked for $15 million in compensation. In the end, they got $800,000.

“I honestly had no expectations, so this is more than fair for me. I’m actually just happy that they listened to Olivia’s voice and the jury was able to decide a fair judgement. I’m happy with that,” the tot’s mom, Philana Holmes, told NBC6.

Wants warnings

“Hopefully they’ll put warning signs on the nugget boxes so parents will know. And just, in the future, for parents to be more aware. Don’t just take someone’s word for it that it’s warm. It could possibly be hot,” Holmes said.

A commentor to the post, however, wasn’t impressed: “How old is this Mother? Did she just start eating at McDonalds? McDonald’s has had chicken nuggets for probably 40 years [and] they have always been hot. As a society, we have always protected our own children. […] We might all [end up] eating cold, soggy fries to protect this new generation.”

Last but not least…

TikTokkers are up in digital arms over McDonald’s Dollar Menu. Of course, it’s no linger simply a ‘Dollar Menu’. It’s now a ‘$1, $2, $3 Menu’.

It all started with a rant by one poster, that you can’t get anything for a dollar at McD’s anymore. So? As a member of the foodservice sector, I understand that resto operators need to boost revenues to stay in business. Everything on the McD’s (and other Fast Food chains’) menus has shot up in price recently. It’s largely because of the skyrocketing cost of food over the past 2 years.

But it’s also a result of minimum wage increases mandated by governments at all levels. Next year, California fast food workers will, by law, be paid a minimum $20 per hour. That’s almost 3 times what some were earning just a year ago.

My take

As unpopular among fast food employees as my stand may be, I’ve always subscribed to the notion – as McDonald’s has always said – that a Fast Food store job was never intended to be a lifelong career.

McD’s once, and for a long time, billed itself as a good corporate citizen for offering hundreds of thousand of teens over the years their first real job. McD’s says the kids learned good work habits and responsibility in the resto’s highly structured environment.

But now, many adults work in Fast Food. And they have considerably larger financial commitments to meet. The recent call by resto workers for a ‘living wage’ confirms their belief that a Fast Food job should be considered a ‘real’ job, and pay accordingly.

Who loses…

… When Fast Food workers start earning $20 an hour? First the customers. Chains like McD’s will price themselves out of the lowest-income and student markets they’ve dominated for years. It can already cost $50 or more to feed a family of 4 at a Fast Food resto. They’re also losing the ‘young family’ demographic a result.

The real question is, how will the inflation/wages angle shake out? I’ve said for years that there’s a major upheaval coming in the Fast Food sector. And it appears we’re on its doorstep…

~ Maggie J.