McDonald's Menu Has a Bold Answer for Wendy's, Burger King

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Since it killed the Dollar Menu, McDonald’s (MCD) – Get Free Report has struggled to figure out how to make value work. The chain has tried a variety of different price points, but the goal was always getting people to spend more rather than giving customers a really cheap meal.

Promotions like the $1, $2, $3 menu never really resonated with customers and over the years McDonald’s has really ceded the high-value market to Wendy’s (WEN) – Get Free Report and Restaurant Brands International’s (QSR) – Get Free Report Burger King.

Wendy’s has really been the leader in this space with its famed 4 for $4, a deal that has varied over the years. At first, the popular offer included a choice of sandwiches along with four-piece chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink. More recently, the 4 for $4 is only offered with a Jr. Cheeseburger, while sandwich choice has been pushed into the more expensive $5 Biggie Bag.

Burger King has avoided the $4 price point, but it has offered similar deals — a sandwich, four nuggets, fries, and a drink — for $5-7, depending upon the exact promotion.

McDonald’s has avoided deals like this. It has tried all sorts of different offers, but it has never matched the 4 for $4. Now, with Christmas approaching and the fast-food giant offering a digital-only SZN of Sharing promotion, that has changed,

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Wendy’s, Burger King Set the Table

The struggling economy and fears about a possible recession have forced fast-food chains to figure out how to balance offering value for customers while protecting their own bottom line. Customers want cheap prices, but McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s have to also make sure they’re not losing money by offering $4 and $5 deals.

That’s why Wendy’s pushed most of its customers toward the $5 Biggie Bag. It still offers the 4 for $4, but it removed all choices from that deal making it less attractive. Effectively the chain staked out the price point for people who need it, but found a way to get an extra dollar from most customers.

Burger King has struggled with the same problems as Wendy’s and it has varied its meal deal price point between $5 and $7. It has also gone back and forth on including its iconic Whopper sandwich in any of those deals.

McDonald’s has generally avoided this sort of extreme value. Franchisees don’t like selling meals at low margins, but with the holidays approaching, the chain unexpectedly has its own $4 deal that’s better than anything Wendy’s or Burger King offers.  

McDonald’s Has a Huge $4 Deal

As part of its unfortunately spelled SZN of Sharing promotion, McDonald’s has a new very limited-time Pick ur 4 for $4 deal which will be offered on Saturday, Dec. 10, and Sunday, Dec. 11 only. The time may be short, but the deal is generous.

“As part of the Pick ur 4 for $4 deal, you get your choice of a McDouble burger or a McChicken sandwich paired with a four-piece McNuggets, a medium drink, and a small fries all for four bucks,” Chewboom.com reported.

The deal can only be redeemed through the McDonald’s app.

McDonald’s has been trying to grow the audience for its app. A deal like this probably does not make economic sense for the company in the short term, but collecting emails and getting people to sign up for the app brings the company meaningful long-term value.

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