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McDonald’s tries another value offer

The chain will offer a limited time buy-one, get-one for $1 deal nationwide on Tuesday as it continues to woo value customers.
Photograph courtesy of McDonald's

McDonald’s, eager to get back to positive traffic, is giving another shot at a value deal with a national Buy-One, Get-One for $1 offer beginning on Tuesday.

The limited-time offer gives customers a Big Mac, Filet O’ Fish, 10-piece Chicken McNuggets or Quarter Pounder for $1 when they purchase one. Customers can mix or match any two of the items.

The company said the BOGO deal on premium sandwiches, along with its $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, provide it with a “strong value platform.” McDonald’s earlier this year gave its local markets more flexibility to determine the items that go onto the dollar menu.

The Chicago-based burger giant has been struggling to generate positive traffic despite otherwise strong same-store sales.

Traffic has been down for the past six quarters as customers paid higher prices for their orders but came in less often.

McDonald’s has been selling more premium items, notably the fresh beef Quarter Pounders, and customers have been adding Dollar Menu and all-day breakfast items to their orders. Same-store sales in the second quarter increased 5.7%, among the strongest performances among publicly traded chains.

It’s uncertain how much traffic is down, but it had been down 2% last year and in the first quarter, though improved some into the second quarter, executives said.

Value is a key element for companies to generate traffic, and McDonald’s has been working for some time to configure its low-priced offers to get customers to come in more often. But those offers have come as many other chains, like rival Burger King, have pushed numerous offers of their own as customer count industrywide has been a challenge.

Last month, McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook acknowledged that some of its value offers didn’t resonate as well as hoped.

“There’s also some decisions we made with the best intentions that just didn’t work as well as we’d hoped,” Easterbrook said. He said the Dollar Menu introduced in early 2018 “didn’t allow enough local flexibility.”

“Finding the right price point in New York is different from finding the right price point in Baton Rouge” La., he said.

Other strategies have also played a role in declining traffic. Delivery and kiosks carry higher average check.

“While overall people are eating out less, people obviously aren’t eating less,” CFO Kevin Ozan said. “They’re just changing where and how they get that food.”

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