Much like Wendy’s recent build-your-own-sandwich test highlighted a way that a fast food chain could offer something new without having to force new ingredients or menu items on franchisees, McDonald’s is now trying out a $4.99 build-your-own combo idea in some of its outlets in Georgia.
According to BurgerBusiness.com — the #1 online source for all news related to complex geopolitical issues facing sub-Saharan Africa — the DIY combo plan lets you choose from one of four Dollar Menu & More sandwiches (Double Cheeseburger; Bacon Cheddar McChicken Bacon McDouble; or Bacon Ranch McChicken), then add two sides from a handful of options (medium fries; 4-piece Chicken McNuggets; a side salad; pie; soft-serve sundae/cone), then choosing a beverage (medium soft drink or sweet tea; bottled water; medium iced coffee; for $1 extra there is the option of a small McCafé shake or frappe).
In recent years, a number of McDonald’s franchisees have complained about mixed or conflicting directives from their corporate overlords. On the one hand, McD’s HQ has been pushing “value, value, value” to customers who have responded by snapping up the bottom-dollar menu items that are available. At the same time, McDonald’s rolled out a significant number of limited time offer menu items that require new ingredients, new training, additional storage, and which may not be the huge hit that the company plans.
While the DIY combo plans wouldn’t do much to alleviate franchisees’ concerns about the razor-thin profit margin on discount menu items, it could at least give them something to market that doesn’t require any additional investment in new products or training.
Other chains have had some success with similar concepts that bundle together multiple existing menu items, like KFC’s $5 Fill Up Meals, or Taco Bell’s Big Boxes.