McDonald's has been stepping up the pace of its new menu offerings as it struggles to grow sales in the challenging economy. Last year, the company ousted the head of its U.S. division after a monthly sales figure fell for the first time in nearly a decade.
By refreshing its menu, McDonald's is hoping to hold onto customers as it faces a shifting industry and intensifying competition from the likes of Burger King Worldwide and The Wendy's Co. Next week, for instance, Wendy's plans to roll out its "Flatbread Grilled Chicken Sandwiches" in two varieties; an Asiago Ranch flavor will have 530 calories and the Honey Mustard flavor will have 370 calories.
The latest offerings also reflect the changing tastes of diners, who are increasingly looking for more premium ingredients with a healthier image—even at fast-food chains. McDonald's, for example, is officially calling the new wraps "Premium McWraps." It also plans to offer a version of its Egg McMuffin made with egg whites starting April 22. And this week, Burger King rolled out its first turkey burger following the success of turkey burgers at Carl's Jr. and Hardee's.
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Dan Coudreaut, director of culinary innovation of McDonald's, says the wraps will be a new "platform" and that different varieties are already in the pipeline. These could include spicy or Cajun flavors, he said. In Europe, he noted, there is a shrimp McWrap.
"It's the benefit of McDonald's being a global system," he said, noting that the company can take successful items from around the world and adapt them to other markets. The Sweet Chili Chicken McWrap, for instance, was first offered in Australia.
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Although the chicken McWraps officially launch nationwide next week, the company says many restaurants already have them. The suggested price for a wrap is $3.99.
National advertising is set to start April 1.