The McDonald's that we know and love, identified by those iconic Golden Arches, had humble beginnings. The restaurant first opened as McDonald's Bar-B-Q Restaurant in San Bernardino, Calif., in 1940, serving a simple menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries, and shakes. Over the next several years, founders Dick and Mac McDonald renovated the restaurant and highlighted their $0.15 hamburger (Credit: ign.com).
In 1954, Ray Croc visited the restaurant and talked the McDonald brothers into creating a national burger chain. The first franchised McDonald's location opened in Des Plaines, Ill., in 1955 incorporating the very first Golden Arches, designed by architect Stanley Meston.
Today, McDonald's is the largest hamburger fast-food chain in the world, and serves more than 58 million customers daily. While McDonald's continues to have a set staple menu throughout most of their locations, the chain is continuously trying to invent both local, national and international menu items to bolster its offerings.
For instance, specialty menu items such as the Big Mac or Chicken McNuggets have been huge commercial successes across the board. But other items have been launched, and have subsequently vanished just as quickly. Items such as the Bacon Bacon McBacon, the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, and the Home-Fried Chicken never quite caught on with American consumers. In local markets, McDonald's has even rolled out items like the McLobster on the East Coast, poutine in Canada, and the McCrab in parts of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.
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In order to assemble our list of the top 10 McDonald's flops, we took into account the cost of the (unsuccessful) advertising campaign, the lack of commercial success of an item, as well as the duration of which the particular product or promotion existed. So the least successful of the lot were ones that not only came and went quickly, but wasted plenty of the company's money as well.
McDonald's continues to roll out new products all the time; some will make it big, others will vanish off the menu without a trace.
- Kristen Oliveri, The Daily Meal