The McBaguette—France’s McRib?

The McRib

Who would’ve guessed, when the McRib was first unveiled in 1981, that this occasional promo would be a smashing success with a cult following? After all, the sandwich meat comprises, in Advertising Age‘s description, of “a boneless pork patty molded into the shape of ribs.” And yet, between 2007 and 2010, we devoured some 60 million McRibs. There are at least 300 Facebook pages devoted to the sandwich’s fans. (Incidentally, AdAge reminds us, the McRib was created by McDonald’s chef Rene Arend, who also created the Chicken McNugget.)

That said, will the McBaguette have the same effect in France? Reports the Wall Street Journal,

For six weeks starting April 18, the 1,228 McDonald’s restaurants across France will feature the McBaguette, with a burger topped with French-made Emmental cheese and mustard. It will replace the chain’s current special offer here: three limited-edition burgers featuring locally produced cheeses.

(According to the print edition of the Journal, the patty will come from France’s own Charolais beef.)

The strategy seems to work well. “The company has devised around 20 locally tailored menu items in some 14 European countries,” writes WSJ reporter Marion Issard, “including Finland, where it offers the Rye McFeast, a burger served on a rye bun, and Spain, where it offers the tomato-based soup Gazpacho.” And in a number of locations, such as in Germany and Austria, you can order beer as well.

I remember trying the McChampion in Vienna around 1993-1994—two patties served next to each other on a McRib-style bun. But I also remember a special China-themed promotion with tempura-fried chicken strips. It came in a quaint little red box with slant-eyed smiling caricatures, which I don’t think would have gone over as well in the States.

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