McDonald’s drops wraps from US menus

McDonald’s has eliminated wraps from its menus, abandoning a signature product that was aimed at attracting younger, healthy eaters.

The company began phasing out large and snack-sized wraps last summer at its more than 14,000 US locations. 

Some markets are still selling the chicken ranch version of the snack wrap, but the sandwich type has mostly vanished from the restaurant chain.

The move represents a dramatic reversal for a category meant to attract the millennial demographic.

Premium McWraps, introduced in 2013 after two years of development, had more vegetables and fewer calories than some of the company’s signature burgers. At the time, an internal memo called the item a “Subway buster”, meaning it would help beat back competition from the sandwich chain.

Instead, the product was a headache. Wraps were time-consuming for workers to assemble and they never took off with many customers, said Jack Russo, an analyst at Edward Jones. Snack-sized wraps, which debuted in 2006, also have largely been phased out.

“A lot of people who eat at restaurants aren’t interested in health and wellness,” he said. “You’ve got to give the people what they want.”

All-day breakfast wraps were overshadowed by a more successful introduction: The US rollout of all-day breakfast. McDonald’s began offering its morning menu during the rest of the day in October, and the shift contributed to a growth rebound. Two-for-$5 deals — as well as lower beef and chicken prices — helped as well, letting McDonald’s snap a seven-quarter US sales slump.

Since taking the helm a year ago, chief executive officer Steve Easterbrook has been trying to simplify McDonald’s menu and speed up its kitchens. Other items also have been axed, including grilled-onion cheddar burgers, the jalapeno McDouble, and buffalo ranch McChicken sandwiches.

The premium wraps were not easy to make. It took 20 seconds alone just to steam the tortilla. Then all the ingredients had to be chopped, stuffed, and rolled, as well as fit neatly inside a slim cardboard box. 

And with the rollout of all-day breakfast, the company needed to simplify its menu to avoid bogged down kitchens. That is why franchisees, who own and operate about 90% of McDonald’s US restaurants, began getting rid of them last year.

Seconds count at McDonald’s, and Mr Easterbrook has been trying to improve drive-thru times with a simplified menu just for customers in cars. The drive-thru is particularly important to restaurants as it generates about 70% of sales.

“When you add all-day breakfast, you’re making things more complicated,” Mr Russo said. “You’re just adding in more product choices, and something’s got to go.”


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