McDonald’s will stop selling the McWrap in the US because every second is essential

McDonald’s has removed wraps from its menus in the US and several other countries. In this way, the multinational abandons an emblematic product that was supposed to serve to attract younger diners with a healthier lifestyle.

The company began recalling large and small-size wraps in the third quarter of last year at its more than 14,000 locations in the United States, spokeswoman Lisa McComb said. Some markets will still sell the Chicken Ranch version of the small wrap, but its sandwich version will be gone from much of the restaurant chain.

The move marks a sharp reversal for a product that was meant to appeal to millennials. The Premium McWrap, which debuted in 2013 after two years of development, had more vegetables and fewer calories than some of the company’s traditional burgers. At that time, an internal memorandum described the product as ‘anti Subway’, that is, it was a kind of strategy that could help the sandwich chain gain market share.

Instead the product was a headache. Making wraps is time-consuming for workers and they never attracted many customers, says Jack Russo, an analyst at Edward Jones. Much of the smaller wraps, introduced in 2006, are also being phased out. “A lot of people who eat in restaurants aren’t interested in health and wellness, and you have to give people what they want.”

The breakfast

In addition, the wraps were overshadowed by a much more successful premiere: the expansion of the 24-hour breakfast in the US. McDonald’s began offering its morning menu for the rest of the day in October, a change that contributed to a recovery in growth. Promotions on two items for $5 (and rebates on beef and chicken items) also helped, allowing McDonald’s to end a seven-quarter losing streak in US sales.

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Since taking over the helm nearly a year ago, Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook has been trying to simplify McDonald’s menu and increase productivity in kitchens. Other items such as grilled onion cheeseburgers and McDouble sandwiches with jalapeños and McChicken buffalo ranch were also eliminated.

Preparation time

The premium wraps were not easy to prepare. Just steaming the dough took twenty seconds. Then, all the ingredients had to be cut, gathered, rolled and fit well into a thin cardboard box. And with the introduction of 24-hour breakfast, the company needed to simplify its menu to avoid overloading kitchens. That’s why many franchisees, owners and operators of McDonald’s restaurants in the United States began ditching them last year.

Every second counts at McDonald’s, and Easterbrook has been trying to beat McAuto’s times with a simplified menu just for drive-in customers. The McAuto is particularly important to restaurants as it generates about 70% of sales.

Still, the company hasn’t created a groundbreaking product in a long time, which may be worrying, Russo says. The chain could use something original to keep customers and turn McDonald’s into a fun brand. “We need a really juicy product, something that can bring back some excitement,” Russo said.

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