Menu Innovations | December 2017 | By Danny Klein

McDonald's to Launch New Dollar Menu in 2018

McDonald's is returning to value with the bold menu, which includes a new chicken sandwich.
McDonald's is launching a new value menu in 2018.
For the first time, McDonald’s Happy Meal will be included on a nationwide value menu. McDonald's
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McDonald’s is entering the New Year with some added ammo in the value wars. On Tuesday, the chain announced a $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu. The offerings, which replace McDonald’s McPick 2 Menu, will be available January 4 nationwide.

“We built this new menu with variety and value firmly in mind,” Chris Kempczinski, president, McDonald’s USA, said in a statement. “Our new value menu includes surprises like our completely new Classic Chicken sandwich, the inclusion of our Happy Meal and more. Whatever our guests crave—a delicious meal, a new taste, a mid-day snack or a family treat—they will find that $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu provides them with value and choice.”

For the first time, McDonald’s Happy Meal will be included on a nationwide value menu. The $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu has three price points built around customization. Each tier allows guests to pick from breakfast, burger, chicken, and beverage options.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • $1 menu items: Sausage Burrito, McChicken, Cheeseburger, any size soft drink
  • $2 menu items: Sausage McGriddles, 2-piece Buttermilk Crispy Tenders, Bacon McDouble, small McCafé beverage
  • $3 menu items: Sausage McMuffin with Egg, new Classic Chicken Sandwich, Triple Cheeseburger, Happy Meal

Additionally, McDonald’s is launching a new Classic Chicken Sandwich along with the menu. It features a buttermilk crispy chicken filet made with all-white meat served on a toasted bun with pickles and the recently introduced creamy, sweet, and tangy Signature Sauce.

The new menu is McDonald’s latest effort to court the value-based customer. The Dollar Menu was introduced in 2002 and was a hit with guests, but not as much with franchisees. Rising labor and food costs squeezed the bottom line for operators. The McPick 2 Menu arrived in 2016 and varied by region. McDonald’s said the new $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu will be more consistent across the country.

McDonald’s first mentioned the new offerings back in October.

“One of the things that we have said to our franchisees in the U.S. is we don't have to win on value, but we can't lose on value,” Kempczinski said during a conference call. “And that means we have to be competitive with our investments against a value program.”

McDonald’s credited much of its sales growth, including a 4.1 percent same-store U.S. sales increase in the last quarter, to value promotions. It has also balanced the value with premium items such as the Signature Crafted sandwiches and its McCafé platform.

Earlier this year, McDonald’s introduced its Velocity Growth Plan to bring mobile order and pay to 20,000 restaurants by the end of 2017 and to accelerate delivery growth. The plan also aims to raise the bar on value, quality, and convenience with moves in the U.S. like the $1 beverage promotion, the Signature Crafted sandwich offerings, and the commitment to serve fresh beef in quarter-pound burgers by mid-2018.