McDonald’s Attempts to Win Back Customers by Adding New ‘Secret’ Sandwiches to Their Menu

By: Beth Moreton | Last updated: May 07, 2024

McDonald’s has been losing customers due to recent price hikes, and is trying everything to win them back.

While this doesn’t mean lowering prices, they have added some new “remix” items to their menu that they hope will attract an influx of customers to their restaurants. 

People Are Choosing to Eat at Home

One of the benefits of eating fast food is that it involves very little preparation time, which is great for working people who don’t want to cook after a long day at work.

A group of people sitting at home eating dinner.

Source: Zach Reiner/Unsplash

However, with people earning less and prices increasing across the board, Restaurant Business reported that people from low-income households are now choosing to eat at home to save money. 

Prices Are up by More Than 5%

People’s willingness to eat food from home was up by 1.3%, compared to going out to eat, which was up by 5.9%.

A graph showing price rises. There is a yellow block, two green blocks, and three red blocks, with an arrow going up.

Source: Freepik/Freepik

While 5% might not seem like much, with the prices of everything going up, many people, especially those on a low income, are choosing to save money by eating at home rather than eating out. 

McDonald's Has a Loyalty Program

McDonald’s hopes to win customers back through its loyalty program.

An image showcasing how the MyMcDonald’s rewards scheme works. The Text on the image says, “Earn one point for every penny you spend.”

Source: @GbNucleus/X

MyMcDonald’s rewards scheme allows customers to receive discounts and rewards when ordering through the app. If utilized properly, it could bring back some, if not all, of the customers they have lost. 

McDonald’s Has a Secret Menu

One aspect of McDonald’s and other fast food companies that customers may or may not be aware of is the secret menu.

A burger from the McDonald’s secret menu. It involves four cheeseburgers being put together to make one.

Source: @_android52/X

Social media users tend to discuss these menu items, and according to The Street, it involves putting multiple items from the McDonald’s menu together to create one food item. 

McDonald’s Has Previously Promoted Secret Menu Items

In July 2023, McDonald’s promoted four secret menu items that have long been popular with customers.

The land, air, and sea burger from the McDonald’s secret menu.

Source: @ffmenuprice/X

This included items such as the land, air, and sea burger, which is a combination of a McChicken burger, a Big Mac, and a Filet-O-Fish stacked on top of one another. 


McDonald’s Has Launched a Remix Song

McDonald’s has launched a remix song to celebrate the new remix menu.

A screenshot from the McDonald’s remix song. Lil’ Yachty is wearing a red anorak, and a woman is standing behind him.

Source: McDonald’s Canada/YouTube

The initial menu song was released in 1989, so McDonald’s launched the remix version in 2024 alongside Lil’ Yachty.


The Remix Menu Is Available in Canada and the US

The remix menu is only available in Canada and the US and contains four new menu items.

The McDonald’s sweet chili junior chicken burger.

Source: Junkfood Junction/YouTube

Dexerto reported that all four items will be available in Canada, but only three in the US. The one not available is the sweet chili junior chicken, which is crispy seasoned chicken with shredded lettuce, Thai sweet chili sauce, mayo-style sauce, and two toasted buns. It is unavailable in the US because that menu doesn’t have Thai sweet chili sauce. 


There Are Three Savory Options

Including the sweet chili junior chicken, the remix menu has three savory options.

The McDonald’s surf n’ turf burger with a bite taken out of it.

Source: Juncfood Junction/YouTube

This includes the chicken cheeseburger, a remix of the chicken burger, and a cheeseburger. The surf ‘n turf burger is also a double cheeseburger with a Filet-O-Fish.


There Is Also a Sweet Option

If the savory items aren’t quite to your liking, or if you want a dessert to accompany them, McDonald’s has you covered.

The apple pie McFlurry. There are three in the packaging.

Source: @ladbible/X

They created the apple pie McFlurry, which is a vanilla McFlurry mixed in with pieces of apple pie.


Fans Flocked to Social Media

When the news of the remix menu was announced, it seemed to have the desired effect as fans flocked to social media to express their delight at the news.

A post on X about the McDonald’s remix menu. The post says, “I haven’t had McDonald’s in so long. I need McDonald’s now. I need to try Lil Yachty’s remix menu.”

Source: @iconicasma/X

One user on X, formerly Twitter, posted that they hadn’t had McDonald’s in a long time, but after seeing the remix menu, they had to go and get some. 


Some Were More Cynical

While many were excited about the announcement, others were more cynical.

A post on X about the McDonald’s remix menu. The post says, “Don’t know why anyone would get excited for the Apple Pie McFlurry when we all know they are never gonna turn that ice cream machine on and will just claim it’s broken so they don’t have to clean it.”

Source: @MirandaLBkr/X

One X user pointed out their main issue was with the Apple Pie McFlurry. They said people would make the journey to get the McFlurry only for the machine to be broken, something those in the comments could clearly relate to. 


Not the First Time

McDonald’s is continuously evolving its strategies to enhance customer engagement and manage costs effectively. The introduction of limited-time offers and advanced technologies are parts of its efforts to remain competitive.

A McDonald’s employee hands a bag of food to a customer through the drive-thru window

Source: Adobe Stock

These strategies are not just about attracting customers, but also about optimizing operations and improving the overall dining experience.


Limited-Time Menu Items

Historically, McDonald’s has successfully utilized limited-time menu items to create buzz and attract customers. Items like the Shamrock Shake and the McRib have become seasonal phenomena, boosting sales and customer visits during their availability.

A brightly lit digital menu board inside a McDonald's restaurant displaying a selection of burgers, drinks, and desserts with calorie counts and prices

Source: Erik Mclean/Unsplash

These strategies capitalize on customer excitement and the novelty of temporary offerings.


The Impact of the McRib

The McRib in particular, with its unique barbecue flavor and limited availability, creates a significant buzz each year it is re-released.

McDonald's McRib

Source: McDonald's

This strategy leverages scarcity and nostalgia to drive sales, illustrating McDonald’s savvy in marketing and customer psychology. The periodic reappearances keep the product desirable and maintain customer interest over time.


Celebrity Collaborations: The Travis Scott Meal

The collaboration with Travis Scott in 2020 brought McDonald’s immense traffic, both in-store and online. This partnership, which included a special meal and merchandise, targeted the youth demographic, significantly boosting sales and market relevance.

Travis Scott during his 2024 Grammys Performance | Source: CBS / Recording Academy / Live Broadcast / Youtube

Celebrity collaborations like this reflect McDonald’s adaptability and understanding of pop culture trends.


California’s Minimum Wage Increase

The recent minimum wage increase in California poses new challenges for McDonald’s, pushing the chain to rethink its labor and pricing strategies.

Gavin Newsom is captured in front of two flags; the American flag to his left and a blue flag with the emblem of California to his right. He's wearing a dark striped suit, a light blue shirt, and a dark blue tie

Source: GavinNewsom/X

To mitigate rising labor costs, McDonald’s may lean more heavily on automation and technology, ensuring they maintain profitability while adhering to new wage standards.


Kiosks and Automation: The Shift in Service

In response to rising labor costs and technological advancements, McDonald’s has increasingly incorporated self-service kiosks across its locations.

Customers standing in line at a McDonald's fast food restaurant with digital self-service ordering kiosks in the foreground

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These kiosks not only reduce staffing requirements but also enhance customer service by expediting the ordering process and reducing human error, marking a significant shift in how fast food operates.


Employee Impact: Layoffs and Role Changes

Automation’s rise in fast food has led to layoffs and transformed roles within the company. Technology-driven tasks are replacing employees, shifting the skill set needed for fast food work.

A concession stand inside a fast-food restaurant displaying a menu for combos including popcorn, ICEEs, and Nathan's Famous hot dogs, with the food preparation area visible

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This evolution raises questions about the future landscape of employment in the fast food sector.


Customer Adaptation to Automation

As McDonald’s introduces more automation, customer reactions vary. Some appreciate the speed and convenience of kiosks, while others miss the personal touch of human service.

Two self-order kiosks with digital screens displaying a "Start Your Order Here" message are set up in a fast-food restaurant

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This shift requires McDonald’s to balance technological integration with maintaining a satisfactory customer experience.


Environmental Concerns and Automation

While automation in fast food operations like McDonald’s can increase efficiency, it also raises environmental concerns.

A close-up of a partially eaten hamburger with sesame seed bun, revealing the layers of beef patty, cheese, and condiments, wrapped in branded paper, with out-of-focus fries in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The energy usage and waste generated by digital devices, if not managed responsibly, could offset some of the sustainability benefits gained from reduced food waste and operational efficiency.


Technology and Trends

Looking ahead, McDonald’s is likely to further integrate AI and robotics into its operations. This could lead to more personalized experiences and even greater operational efficiencies.

A lineup of identical white self-service kiosks, each with a digital screen and payment terminal, is ready for installation, positioned in a manufacturing facility

Source: lei_alisa/X

As technology evolves, so too will the fast food industry, continually adapting to new innovations.


Challenges with New Technologies

Of course, the integration of new technologies in McDonald’s operations isn’t without challenges. Issues like cybersecurity, technology maintenance costs, and customer privacy concerns need careful management.

Inside a McDonald's restaurant, there are two self-service ordering kiosks with digital screens displaying the menu and promotions

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Overcoming these challenges will be important for McDonald’s to successfully implement these advanced systems.


McDonald’s Moving Forward

As McDonald’s adapts to industry changes through innovation and strategy adjustments, it remains focused on improving customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

A photograph of a McDonald's sign against a clear blue sky. The sign features the iconic golden arches logo above the red block lettering of "McDonald's" with a "McDrive" sign attached below

Source: Andreeew Hoang/Unsplash

The future of McDonald’s looks to blend technology with customer-centric services, aiming to lead the fast food industry towards a more efficient and engaging future.