McDonald’s once released burger it had to take off menu that staff were embarrassed to serve
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McDonald’s eh? – it’s a tried-and-tested option for some scran wherever you are in the world, a helpful aid to any hangover, and a comfort blanket in uncertain times.
However, it doesn't always get everything right, as this story from back in the mists of time confirms.
You see, way back in the day – 1991, to be precise – McDonald’s decided to take the unusual decision to introduce a new product on the UK market without ever consulting the public on whether they wanted it or not.
As it happened, they most certainly didn’t.
Sure, the product in question was a UK pub classic, but it clearly didn’t translate well into a Maccies environment, with staff ashamed to sell it and the public ashamed to ask for it.
This is the story of the short-lived McPloughman’s sandwich.
Yes, McDonald’s produced a version of the classic cheese and pickle sandwich, beloved by lunch-eaters up and down the country.
However, in the fast-food environment it went down like a fart at a christening.
Paul Preston, who was the head honcho at UK Maccies during that period, found to his dismay that the British public just weren’t ready for the company to step into the lunchtime cold sandwich market.
Preston explained: “Customers didn't want the product and our staff were embarrassed even to have to say 'McPloughman's' let alone to have to attempt to sell it to our customers.”
Lack of market research was a problem from the start, with Preston admitting: “If we had taken the time to put the concept of McPloughman's through the discovery stage and done some market research with our customers, I'm sure that we would have found out that this was not a highly desirable product.”
Now – obviously – products are meticulously researched and tested out before the idea is even floated publicly, but times were a little different back then.
A bit of research that McDonald’s did actually perform at the time found that British customers weren’t quite used to the level of American-style service that they were getting at the fast-food chain.
“What they told us was horrifying,” Preston said.
The President of UK Operations from the 1990s discovered that the opinion amongst the British food-purchasing public at that time was that McDonald’s was ‘loud, brash, American, successful, complacent, uncaring, insensitive, disciplinarian, insincere, suspicious and arrogant.’
It’s hard to imagine today, given the ubiquity and success of the company in the UK.
That survey left the top brass with the hard truth that ‘what was revolutionary in the seventies was ghastly in the nineties’.
It did give the chain pause for thought though, and a change of strategy.
Preston said: “Asking customers what they want is a simple and effective idea and saves a hell of a lot of wasted time in the boardroom by executives trying to second-guess what customers may, or may not, like.”
To be fair, whoever thought that they might like something called the McPloughman’s was clearly due for a professional review.
Anyone fancy seeing this back on the menu?
LADbible has actually contacted McDonald's for a comment on the McPloughman's, believe it or not.
Featured Image Credit: Radharc Images/Alamy PA/Alamy
Topics: UK News, Weird, McDonalds, Food And Drink