McDonald’s Will Serve Pumpkin Spiced Latte In Only 38% Of Restaurants

If you seek pumpkin-flavored food items in as many venues as possible, we have some bad news: only 38% of McDonald’s outlets plan to offer the chain’s pumpkin spiced latte (not to be confused with the pumpkin spice latte served elsewhere) this fall and winter, as part of a plan of rotating regional offerings and limited-time offerings.

It might sound strange that a fast-food restaurant that built its empire by being the same everywhere hopes to save itself from falling sales by changing what it offers in different places. Their goal seems to be to create buzz for their products by offering them for limited periods and rotating them through different regions. Even the McRib didn’t appear on every menu nationwide the last time it was available.

Some areas also get their very own products that aren’t offered in other places: New England had the McLobster this summer, for example. While you might think that New England can keep the McLobster, knowing that it’s a limited-time offering in only one region increases the novelty. Maybe people will come try it just so they can brag that they did.

Back in 2013, the pumpkin spiced latte was available in every restaurant, but limiting its availability solves another problem for McDonald’s: franchisees are unhappy with the sprawling menu and want to pare it down. Adding more sandwiches and latte flavors is the opposite of that, so limiting the number of special menu items that any restaurant has to deal with at any given time is an improvement over throwing every limited-time item on the menu at every restaurant nationwide.

McDonald’s Regional Strategy Means You May Not Get Pumpkin Latte [Bloomberg]

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