Mike Hughlett reports in the Chicago Tribune that McDonald’s Corp. appears to be planning to mate its popular dollar menu with its equally popular breakfast menu in a nationwide promotion, and not just in Chicago and a few other markets where it currently exists, according to documents obtained by the Tribune.
This would appear to be the first time McDonald’s has brought the dollar menu to a nationwide breakfast promotion. McDonald’s said “it does not comment on information obtained from unauthorized sources,” or on rumors or speculation.
Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts will debut an expanded 99-cent value menu Monday in the Chicago area, which is one of the chain’s biggest markets, and while it’s a limited-time offer, it could be extended, the company said.
Oak Brook-based McDonald’s in August brought its dollar menu to breakfast in Chicago, at least temporarily, with six $1 items, including the sausage McMuffin.
The company has stores in a “few other markets” that also have brought the dollar menu to breakfast, McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner told analysts in a recent conference call, though he didn’t elaborate on which markets.
It’s not clear whether the breakfast dollar menu nationally would mirror the Chicago offering. But national advertising for the breakfast dollar menu is likely to begin in January and run through the first six months of 2010, according to documents obtained by the Tribune.
A group of McDonald’s franchisees and executives that set national ad priorities has recommended such a course. McDonald’s franchisee groups that determine local advertising still need to vote on the idea, but they usually go along with the national body.
The notion of a national push for the breakfast dollar menu comes at a time when some fast-food chains have struggled with slowing sales.
McDonald’s also plans in January to nationally roll out its Big Mac snack wrap, according to documents obtained by the Tribune. McDonald’s began testing the item late last year in 400 U.S. restaurants.
The item is a cross between McDonald’s chicken wraps and its Big Mac burger. The snack wrap features Big Mac fixings — a sliced burger patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions — but no sesame seed bun.
As for Dunkin’ Donuts, in June it launched two 99-cent wraps at restaurants nationwide. Next week, the suburban Boston-based firm will expand that concept in Chicago with a value menu featuring six items priced at 99 cents.
The 99-cent menu in Chicago will last until Dec. 26, though it could be extended if it’s “received positively,” said John Costello, chief marketing officer for Dunkin’ Brands. He declined to say whether Chicago is a test market for a national 99-cent menu.
“Chicago is a large and very important market for Dunkin’,” Costello said. With nearly 500 stores in the area, Chicago is one the biggest markets for Dunkin’ beyond the East Coast.