Despite generating so much interest that it’s been reintroduced to the McDonald’s menu more times than Mayor McCheese has run unopposed, the McRib hasn’t found a place on the permanent menu in years, instead coming back in limited runs with some sort of gimmicky promotional tie-in.
And this year’s gimmicky tie-in actually makes hay with the processed pork sandwich’s limited availability with the McDonald’s McRib Finder iPhone app.
In the past, McRib fanatics had to harness the power of the Internet to crowdsource participating McRib-slinging locations and share this information amongst each other. But in 2016, McDonald’s is helping those on the McRib hunt. The app, which works as an iMessage plug-in, uses iPhone users’ location data to display where the nearest McRib-selling restaurant locations are. From there, you can message the address of one of these nearby McDonald’s to a friend to have them meet you for a pork sandwich. If you’re feeling super fun, you can even send a McRib-themed sticker through iMessage – assuming your equally fun friend has the McRib iMessage add-on installed as well.
Only about half of McDonald’s locations are expected to sell the McRib this year, according to the Chicago Tribune, meaning having an app to help you is actually pretty handy. A 50-50 shot is far from a guarantee. However, Android users may be upset to hear that, at this point, the McRib Finder is only available for iOS.
Also worth nothing, Consumerist sees a bit of a flaw in McDonald’s system: It can only search for McRibs based on your current location – meaning if you see someone driving around aimlessly staring at their phone, that might not be Pokemon they’re looking for; they may just be trying to get in McRib range.