11 Surprising McDonald’s Menu Items You Won’t Find Today
Not all menu items can be as successful as the Big Mac and Chicken McNuggets. Here are some of the creative ways McDonald's has switched up their menu in the past.
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McDonald’s tried its hand at an upscale seafood offering in 1993. The McLobster was a combination of lobster, lettuce and “lobster sauce” piled on a bun. While the McLobster didn’t become a hit across the country, it did do well in Canada and parts of New England, where it’s still served today.
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In the 1960s, McDonald’s franchise owner Ray Kroc discovered that their sales were taking a hit in areas with large Catholic populations, since Catholics often abstain from eating meat on Fridays. So Kroc came up with a meatless cheeseburger that he hoped would rejuvenate sales. His choice for the patty? A grilled ring of pineapple. Though the Hula burger didn’t take off, McDonald’s came back with another meatless option that became much more popular: the Filet-O-Fish.
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This larger-than-life size option for drinks and fries was fairly successful when it was introduced in 1993. But, in 2004, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock released his documentary Super Size Me, where he ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days. This look at the health effects of eating McDonald in excess caused the franchise to remove its super-size option. On the other hand, these are the healthiest items you can order at McDonald’s.
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Introduced in the 1980s, the McDLT combined some of McDonald’s customers’ favorite ingredients; a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese and pickles. The twist came with the burger’s packaging. In the effort to keep the warm and cool components of the sandwich separate until right before consumption, the McDLT was served in a two-compartment container. Customers didn’t get behind the deconstructed burger, though, and the McDLT was pulled from restaurants in the 1990s.
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In 2002, when McDonald’s franchises in Norway started selling this beef-and-veggie pita sandwich, many southern African countries were experiencing a period of famine. Public outcry caused McDonald’s to apologize and remove the item. Learn which countries around the world have banned McDonald’s altogether.
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With this sandwich—a burger with cheese, peppered bacon, and a potato-flour bun—McDonald’s hoped to expand their demographic in the 1990s. They were having massive success as a kid- and family-friendly franchise, but hoped to be taken more seriously by adults. Calling it “the burger with the grown-up taste,” commercials for the Arch Deluxe showed Ronald McDonald playing “sophisticated” sports like golf and pool. The advertisements didn’t click with consumers, though, and the Deluxe was eventually replaced.
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In the 1990s, McDonald’s expanded their menu to include hotdogs. But by that time, McDonald’s menu was so well established, the McHotDog never really caught on. People preferred the McDonald’s classics like cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and French fries. Speaking of the classics, get a look at McDonald’s first menu ever.
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Introduced primarily for the Japanese market, this sandwich combined macaroni, mashed potatoes and shrimp, which was deep-fried into a croquette-like patty. Failing to connect with its intended market, the McGratin Croquette was eventually discontinued.
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In the late ’80s and early ’90s, McDonald’s added spaghetti-and-meatballs, fettuccine Alfredo and lasagna to their menu. This sounds like the best idea ever, right?! Unfortunately, consumers weren’t too interested in the pasta products, though, choosing to stick with their burgers and fries. Check out these pasta dishes your family will love.
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Onion Nuggets, introduced in the 1970s, were chunks of onion, fried, breaded and served with dipping sauce. Though these nuggets proved to be unpopular, they did open the door for another type of nugget. The company introduced Chicken McNuggets in 1980, and the rest is delicious history.
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Advertised as “91% fat-free,” burger the McLean Deluxe was introduced in 1991. Since McDonald’s wasn’t considered a healthy-option restaurant, the burger didn’t take off and was eventually taken off the menu.
Of course, a few failures have most definitely not diminished McDonald’s popularity. The franchise has had plenty of success stories, including their 10 most popular items ever.