Just how bloated is McDonald's menu?

Car queue at the McDonalds drive-through in Anaheim, Calfornina.
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Car queue at the McDonalds drive-through in Anaheim, Calfornina.

McDonald's menu has become so unwieldy that even the chain's U.S. president doesn't know how many items it contains.

On a recent investor call, Michael Dean Andres noted McDonald's has added more than 100 stock-keeping units (SKUs) during the past decade— making it more difficult both for consumers to order and for employees behind the counter to fill orders quickly.

In a business built on speed, that's a problem. This complexity has proved to be a challenge to the company's drive-thru performance.

To improve efficiency at the chain, the fast-food giant vowed to cut eight menu items, remove five extra value menus and reduce some SKUs beginning next month.

Read MoreMcDonald's to pare down menu items to boost speed

"[I]n our test markets, we have seen immediate impact on the overall drive-thru times and improvement," he added.

The move is part of an aggressive turnaround agenda as it seeks to rebound from its worst domestic comparable sales figures in more than a decade.

But just how bloated has the chain's menu become?

The menu has grown to 72 items this year from 53 items in 2010—a big change in a short amount of time considering its menu in 2005 contained just 49 items, according to market research firm Datassential.

"[T]his does not include beverages, desserts or combo meals," wrote Datassential Senior Director Maeve Webster in an email. "So these are really core menu items and are a great indicator of the overall change."

During this time, the company added healthier items like the Egg White Delight McMuffin, fruit and maple oatmeal and several premium items like wraps.

Read MoreCEO: McDonald's has problems. We don't

Although trying to cater to more customers' desires helps to a point, it can become self-defeating if it becomes too complicated, said Efraim Levy, S&P Capital IQ equity analyst, in a phone interview.

"You can't be all things to all people," Levy said. "You have to know who your core is and who your adjacent markets are. Some areas you shouldn't try to compete in."

Levy has a $92 price target on McDonald's stock and a "hold" rating.

"I view it as a step in the right direct but not a panacea," he said.