McDonald’s Ready to Roll Out ‘Affordable Macs’ in Japan

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McDonald’s Japan will debut three new burgers selling at a bargain price of ¥200 each (approximately $1.67) beginning October 26. The menu additions will feature an Egg and Cheese Burger (garnished with pickles, onions and ketchup), a Barbecue Pork Burger (with cheese, lettuce, pickles, onions and BBQ sauce) and a Ham, Lettuce, Tomato & Cheese Burger (accented with mayonnaise and mustard).

Marketed collectively as Otegoro Mac (translation: Affordable Mac), the launch is part of an ongoing strategy to reverse the fall in customer traffic and sales at McDonald’s restaurants in Japan, where 19 consecutive declines in monthly sales have been recorded. The downturn began with a meat sourcing scandal in 2014, triggered by food safety lapses at a supplier’s plant in China that allegedly produced Chicken McNuggets with outdated raw material.


More bad press followed over allegations that customers found a human tooth and other undesirable foreign objects in foods purchased at outlets of the QSR chain. At the same time, competition from rival family restaurants and convenience stores stepped up appreciably.

McDonald’s “low-price strategy” includes offering sweets and small-size burgers for ¥100, as well as ¥150 french fry servings. Additionally, it will soon introduce a ¥500 set menu featuring a new hamburger recipe paired with fries or chicken nuggets, plus a beverage. However, it aims to eliminate the ¥350 to ¥550 Hiru Mac (Lunch Mac) deal.

“We are extremely confident that the Otegoro Mac will bring new and old customers to McDonald’s,” said Sarah Casanova, chief executive officer of the Tokyo-headquartered company. “Customers overwhelmingly told us they wanted a better range of different sized options on the menu to satisfy their hunger, but still at an affordable value price.”

Organic McB Burgers in Germany
Meanwhile, McDonald’s restaurants in Germany began offering 100% organic McB hamburgers on October 1 for a limited period through November 18. Meat in the burgers is sourced exclusively from farms in Germany and Austria, where cattle consume only organically grown feed and graze in pastures devoid of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

“We have made a great effort to secure sufficient quantities of meat which satisfies the organic requirements and our own quality claims,” said Holger Beeck, ceo of McDonald’s Germany.

USA Operators Not Lovin’ All Day Breakfast
Elsewhere, back in the United States, homeland of the world’s largest restaurant chain (in terms of revenues), some franchise operators have expressed disappointment with results from the “All Day Breakfast” program launched on October 6.

A survey of 29 McDonald’s operators representing 226 outlets across the USA conducted by Mark Kalinowski, an analyst for the Nomura financial and investment banking firm, revealed that the task of making Egg and Sausage McMuffin breakfast sandwiches and biscuits, Hotcakes, Hash Browns, Sausage Burritos and other products available “anytime you want” has proved to be a cumbersome, erratic and disorganized process that adds costs without generating higher returns.


According to an October 15 story in the New York Post, one survey respondent was of the opinion that “All Day Breakfast is a non-starter. We are trading customers down from regular menu to lower-priced breakfast items and not generating new traffic.”

Another operator complained: “Problems are vast” in small restaurants, “with people falling over each other and equipment jammed in everywhere.”