Years ago, I was talking with a friend when he mentioned his favorite hamburger was the Big Mac. This statement shocked me for two reasons. First, I had never heard anyone name the Big Mac as their favorite burger. But second, realizing I had never heard anyone say that before shocked me even more: The Big Mac might be the most iconic hamburger on the planet, and yet I’ve rarely heard anyone talk about actually eating one.
Turns out, my experience isn’t an isolated one. The Wall Street Journal recently delved into the struggles of the Golden Arches’ signature sandwich. Back in July, a McDonald’s franchisee went so far as to describe the two-tiered burger as having “gotten less relevant,” pointing out that only one in five millennials had even tried a Big Mac in their lives. I guess kids today are a lot warier of a “special sauce” being sold by a clown – which is probably not a bad thing given current clown events.
You can’t necessarily blame millennials: The WSJ references a 2014 Consumer Reports survey where MickeyD’s finished dead last out of 21 different hamburger chains in taste. Along the way, McDonald’s has fallen out of favor with younger demographics while newer, hipper burger chains have taken its place. “The percentage of millennials who visited the much smaller Smashburger more than once a month, for example, grew by 11 percentage points between the end of 2013 and the second quarter of this year,” the WSJ reports, “while those who visited McDonald’s grew by 6.5 percentage points, according to Technomic Inc., which studies the food industry.”
So how does McDonald’s plan to revitalize its empire? The chain has been looking at a number of different options to help improve quality – including the way it cooks its burgers. But the most immediate plans appear to be two new takes on the Big Mac set to debut next year: a bigger Big Mac called a Grand Mac and a smaller version called a Mac Jr. Because if you’re not into something, what will definitely change your mind is being offered slightly more or less of it.