The test-run in Canada has ended without much fanfare.

By Jelisa Castrodale
June 29, 2020
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In January, McDonald's announced that it had doubled the number of Canadian restaurants that were demo-ing its Beyond Meat-topped Plant, Lettuce, and Tomato (P.L.T.) burger, which meant that the sandwich was available in 52 locations in southwestern Ontario. At the time, it said that its test run would continue for three more months.

It probably says a lot about how 2020 has gone so far that McDonald's quietly removed the P.L.T. from those menus in late April, but nobody seemed to really notice until last week. According to the CBC, McDonald's did not publicly comment when the test-run ended in April; all it did was pull all of the P.L.T.-related information from its website. "We have no current plans to bring it back to our menu at this time," the official McDonald's CanadaTwitter account told one dejected P.L.T. fan in April. "[W]e will be sure to share your feedback with our team for future consideration."

McDonald's

A spokesperson for Beyond Meat was equally tight-lipped, telling the outlet that it was "pleased with the test," but declining to comment otherwise. "I can assure you, there's no issue with McDonald's," Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said during a conference call last month. "There's been no change in information since we began this test and got good results in the beginning and got good results at the end."

It's hard not to read something into the McDecision not to extend or expand the P.L.T. trial, but it could just be as simple (or, more accurately, as complicated) as the restaurant chain trying to determine the best way to withstand the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, McDonald's temporarily removed several options from its menus so it could continue to provide quick and accurate service, even if the restaurants were short-staffed. According to CNBC, seven of those items—including two kinds of Quarter Pounders, the Bacon McDouble, vanilla ice cream cones, and chocolate chip cookies—will be coming back to restaurants later this summer. But some of the products that were pulled could be permanently gone, which is bad news for anybody who went to McD's for the bagels, the salads, or the fruit parfaits.

“Now, we’re reintroducing some of our iconic offerings while keeping our menu streamlined—focusing on expert preparation, great service, and as always, quality ingredients,” McDonald’s USA said earlier this month. “With customers at the center of everything we do, we’ll continue listening to them and evolving our menu to meet their needs.”

McDonald's is also taking its franchisees into account, and apparently they want a more streamlined menu, permanently: the National Owners Association has already voted to bin the All-Day Breakfast menu for good. "The limited menu and ease of operations are allowing our teams to focus and provide blazing fast service,” Blake Casper, the chairman of the organization, said. “We are convinced. Keeping our menus simplified is your NOA’s number one priority.”

Focusing on fewer items could be bad news for the P.L.T., going forward, and for those who have already decided that they love it. "Read the room Mcdonald's," one customer tweeted. "Vegans are hungry."