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CNBC Digital Exclusive: These McDonald's items are on the chopping block

When: Today, Friday, January 23


These McDonald's items are on the chopping block

Katie Little | @KatieLittle

The next time you walk into a McDonald's, the menu will likely look a little different.

This week, the fast food giant is rolling out its newly simplified menu, which features fewer items in order to reduce confusion and boost speed.

So what's getting axed?

One director of operations for a mid-size Midwest franchisee, who requested anonymity, told CNBC the following would be removed nationally: the honey mustard Snack Wrap, chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap, bacon habanero ranch Quarter Pounder, bacon and cheese Quarter Pounder, premium chicken club sandwich and premium ranch BLT chicken sandwich.

A separate location in California confirmed these items would be cut from its menu.

The southern-style chicken sandwich will also be axed except in some markets, the Midwest franchise executive said. Additionally, local level operators can choose to remove the buffalo ranch McChicken or grilled onion cheddar burger from the menu.

McDonald's did not respond to requests for comment on the eliminations.

Deeper cuts coming

Deeper cuts at the chain could be on the way.

On the company's conference call Friday, McDonald's USA President Mike Andres said its menu rationalization test is "clearly ongoing," as the chain has unveiled a lot of products during the last year and a half.

The cuts are aimed at simplifying a menu that's grown complex over the years and proved to be an obstacle in the fast-food giant's need for speed.

Indeed, McDonald's menu items excluding beverages, desserts or combo meals grew to 72 last year from 53 just four years earlier, according to market research firm Datassential.

Test results of the pared down offering saw "faster order times" and better performance compared to those with the longer menu, Andres said.

In a recent survey from Janney Capital Markets, some franchisees called for more cuts to the many with several expressing frustration with complicated Happy Meals and some McCafe offerings.

The Midwest franchise executive views the changes as a positive.

"The menu was confusing to the customer, and it was confusing to the people making the sandwiches," he said. "There were too many options for the customer, and our grill team wasn't on the ball enough."

The cuts come as McDonald's is rolling out its customizable create-your-taste platform, a build-your-own sandwich option the company plans to begin expanding aggressively to 2,000 stores in the US this year. It is part of the Golden Arches' effort to turn around its struggling U.S. business and compete with restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Grill that have seen success with their customized offerings.

At a location in Laguna Niguel, California, a bacon cheeseburger combo meal ordered using create your taste will set customers back about $10 including tax—a pricey offering for a chain built on low-priced items.

Still, the location's general manager Salvador Garcia said in a phone interview that customers shell out for the burger and chicken sandwiches, which contain the same meat as those ordered at the counter.

"Definitely, customers are willing to pay that," Garcia said. "And they wait a little longer."

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