For McDonald’s, being a multinational fast-food chain means sometimes you have to experiment to stay ahead. Sometimes, that means releasing a promotional dipping sauce twice over and flopping; sometimes, that means appealing to trends like veganism and selling vegan-centric produce.
Remember the time they made that crazy E.T. knockoff movie, and that ATM that vomited Big Macs? Yesterday’s fiasco makes for today’s farce, and because some of this stuff was actually pretty hilarious, looking back, it’s worth making a wacky list about it. Here are seven McDonald’s items that were so crazy they actually had to be taken off the menu.
1. Szechuan sauce
First sold in 1998 as part of a promotion with the Disney film Mulan, McDonald’s sold Szechuan dipping sauce with its McNuggets. As we know, it found a second life after being mentioned on Rick and Morty, but McDonald’s made a massive error predicting how many people would want the sauce. Somehow, this almost led to riots.
2. The Hula burger
This was invented in the 60s to give hungry Catholics a guilt-free Lenten Friday option. The Hawaii-inspired creation was made with a slice of grilled pineapple with cheese. Released around the same time as the Filet-O-Fish, when it became clear that there was a superior in the alternative-to-meat race, the Hula was dropped.
3. Onion nuggets
Introduced as a test item for the very first McDonald’s Dollar Menu, this nugget, which I assume was another take on onion rings, quickly disappeared after its release. The only traces of it that remain anywhere are pictures like this on the internet.
4. The Super Size
For just over a decade, everyone was able to get their fries and drink at a colossal seven ounces (610 calories) and 42 ounces (410 calories) respectively. This is five times the recommended serving size for fries and drinks. The Super Size crumbled under the weight of its own disgusting bounty when it was discontinued in the wake of the nation-shaking documentary Super Size Me.
Remarkably, this 80s and 90s gem is still being sold in a couple of locations in the US: Pomery, Ohio, and Spencer, West Virginia. It was discontinued nationwide due to the fact the McDonald’s “fast-food” model doesn’t fit in well with the cooking time of a pizza.
The McSpaghetti ran into the same issues as the McPizza, as well as being a little too expensive for McDonald’s and its customers. Its unsettling aesthetic may have been part of its demise too. A new restaurant, however, is looking to be the McDonald’s of pasta. So I guess we’re not missing out too much.
The McDLT sounds like a great idea: separating your lettuce, tomato and cooler parts of your burger from your hot patty and cheese. The problem was: one, environmentally it was a horror show and two, the separation of hot and cold isn’t really with it for the casual McDonald’s customer. The commercial was great, though.
That was a list of the craziest things McDonald’s have tried. You know that thing where you want something more because you can’t have it? I have that right now, and it’s killing me. Someone get me some McNuggets. Stat.