There’s something missing on McDonald’s value menu. Brand Eating discovered that Happy Meals are no longer a part of McDonald’s $1 $2 $3 value menu.
On the value menu, which McDonald’s debuted earlier this year, Happy Meals were discounted around 25 percent from the original price, meaning families could get a Happy Meal for only $3. It also marked the first time Happy Meals were included on a nationwide value menu.
McDonald’s confirmed to Food & Wine that Happy Meals were no longer a part of the offer nationwide. However, as with all of its promotions, participation may vary among different locations.
“The $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu was created to bring our customers better value with the intent to flexibly rotate menu items on and off over time,” a spokesperson told Food & Wine in an email. “Some markets may even offer slight variations to the menu that best fit the preferences of their local customers. While the Happy Meal is no longer part of the nationally advertised $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, it is still available for $3 at some U.S. restaurants.”
Brand Eating found McDonald’s in the Los Angeles area are offering a Hamburger Happy Meal for $3.99, and a 4-piece Chicken Nugget will set you back $4.59. The average value drop while the Happy Meals were on the value menu was about 25 percent. Because the pricing of menu items varies across the country, in less expensive markets it’s not entirely impossible to get a $3 Happy Meal. Food & Wine reported a McDonald’s in St. Louis still offers a Happy Meal for $3.
Even though the Value Menu is performing the way McDonald's hoped it would since its reintroduction, McDonald's is still experimenting with the menu items and promotions included at the $1, $2, and $3 price point. Eliminating the Happy Meal from the Value Menu might be another experiement for the fast-food chain.
"We know that we need to be more aggressive to compete effectively,” said Kevin Ozan, chief financial officer. “While our $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu is driving incremental sales and guest counts with our budget-basic value customers, we need to do more to attract other customer groups.”
Back in June, McDonald's revised the Happy Meal offerings allowing customers to choose from only the following entrée choices: Hamburger, 4-piece, and 6-piece Chicken McNuggets. Guests can still special order cheeseburgers if they want; it just won’t be on the board. These changes came as McDonald's strived to meet a goal of cutting Happy Meals to be no more than 600 calories.