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The McRib is Back, for Now

Image Credit: Gargantiopa / Shutterstock.com

Seasonal marketing offerings are a good way to appeal to new and loyal customers. Often new and established businesses will be successful in increasing foot traffic and additional revenue during changes in seasons or at special holiday periods. Brands can also create special, recurring seasons that offer special products only available at certain times of the year.

McDonald’s brought back its iconic McRib Sandwich earlier this month. The McRib sandwich is a seasoned boneless pork rib cooked in barbecue sauce and topped with onions and pickles and served on a hoagie-style bun. First launched in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1981, the McRib Sandwich has become a staple, seasonal part of the fast-food restaurant’s menu each fall. Mike Bullington, McDonald’s senior archives manager, said that “the idea for the sandwich was to be enjoyed during the colder seasons. Whether you’re a McRib loyalist or first timer, there is no denying that the McRib is one of the most iconic sandwiches of the last four decades and we have thousands of emails and tweets from fans to prove it.” A company statement said the “hype around its annual return” has given “birth to the phrase ‘McRib Season.’” The sandwich will only be available for a limited time.

McDonald’s has built its iconic brand around serving comforting, familiar foods that are consistent across thousands of franchised locations. The McRib Sandwich goes against that business model because it is not available year-round. Each year the restaurant chain initiates special promotions and contests to reintroduce the flavor to consumers. When the sandwich was first introduced 40 years ago it failed to meet with the anticipated reaction from McDonald’s loyal customers and was dropped from the menu in 1985. It was reintroduced in 1994 as a nostalgic and novelty item, and by 2005 it became popular enough to be offered on a recurring basis.

Consumers that are more concerned about healthy offerings from the fast-food giant cringe at the ingredients that include 520 calories, 28 grams of total fat, 46 grams of total carbs and 24 grams of protein. But other, less health-conscious fans are eager each Fall to get an opportunity to chow down on the seasonal delicacy.

The specialty sandwich can account for nearly a five-percent increase in revenue for the month of November each year. McDonald’s 2021, first-quarter earnings and revenue topped Wall Street’s estimates with a United States same-store sales growth of 13.6% during the quarter. Revenue for the twelve months ending September 30, 2021 was $22.528 billion, a 16.59% increase over the previous year.