To inaugurate the launch of Adult Happy Meals, Ciarán Howley reminisces on which snacks deserve a comeback under the big golden arches.
If you’re a fan of McDonalds, there are a number of classics you can always count on.
The fast food chain first had its doors opened in 1953 by Richard and Maurice McDonald who, after pairing with businessman Ray Kroc, transformed the restaurant into the global enterprise we know it as today.
Be it a jumbo Big Mac, first introduced in 1967 and the subject of a museum in Chicago, or their crispy chicken nuggets first launched in 1983, McDonalds is dependable if nothing else.
That’s perhaps one of the essential ingredients of its success story; its reliability. After a night out in Dublin, there’s a sense of comfort under the glow of those big golden arches that bland familiarity awaits our taste buds.
But they’ve dropped the ball a few times and have axed a number of items and, frankly, broken the hearts of millions in the process.
The Bacon Clubhouse Double was one of the tastiest burgers you could eat - period. For six euro, you could get a jumbo sandwich with Irish beef, bacon, lettuce, onion and that tantalising secret sauce - the contents of which remain a mystery. In truth, the Special Sauce was the main allure - which is why the Quarter Pounder with Cheese Bacon has never succeeded the way it was meant to. Now is the time to bring it back, Double or nothing.
Chicken Selects were suddenly removed from the menu one summer - creating an enormous stir and panic, with fervent demands for their imminent return. Eventually, Selects came back and were more popular than ever.
It was in June 2021 that McDonalds pulled the plug on the Clubhouse Double, and with one fell swoop a number of McFlurry flavours went with it. Namely, the gooey sweetness of the Galaxy Caramel and moreish Galaxy Chocolate.
While McDonalds have always triumphed when it comes to desserts, such as their deep fried apple pies and the supreme Oreo McFlurry, the Galaxy ice creams were discontinued before they could gather any kind of fanbase. While not everyone’s favourite, the extra sauce was a nice alternative over the drier M&M and Oreo McFlurry, which take some stirring. Remember when McDonalds had a mechanical contraption that would actually blend the ice cream? It seems to have been done away with, rendering McFlurries no more than ice cream with toppings.
That said, the staff always looked a little scared to work that machine. If it’s anything like their regular ice cream machines, it probably just kept breaking.
(Having worked in a McDonald’s, I’m debunking the myth that we would lie about the machine breaking because we just weren’t fussed to make McFlurries. In my experience, the machines were constantly malfunctioning, often leaving huge puddles of frozen gelato on the floor. Those machines were designed to create chaos, and chaos alone. And don’t get me started on the milkshake machine, Christ.)
What we know is that before the lockdown, Twisty Fries were an essential side-dish on the McDonalds menu but after lockdown their return remains to be seen.
That said, variety is of the utmost importance and McFlurry’s are no different. Reinstate the Caramel and Chocolate now, McDonalds Ireland.
The menu at McDonalds can be a bit like a team sport. While there are the main players that do the heavy lifting, there are always substitutes to fill in for a brief time.
Chicken Selects were suddenly removed from the menu one summer - creating an enormous stir and panic, with fervent demands for their imminent return. Eventually, Selects came back and were more popular than ever. Sometimes items leave the menu either for producers to tweak the recipe and ingredients, but oftentimes it’s an effective (if not sick and twisted) way to create hype.
And I am absolutely convinced that that’s what happened in the case of Twisty Fries. Two years ago, diners were met with a horrendous blow. During the staggered Covid-19 economic reopening, McDonalds returned with a takeaway limited menu. Indoor dining was fully banned and food either had to be purchased from the drive-through or for takeaway at the counter.
It’s hard to say what happened to those beautiful potato fries in the midst of all this. What we know is that before the lockdown, Twisty Fries were an essential side-dish on the McDonalds menu but after lockdown their return remains to be seen. While their notable absence was highlighted by an Irish Tiktoker who beseeched McDonalds to restore Twisty goodness to their stories to nearly 200,000 viewers - nothing has come of it. If anyone from McDonalds Ireland HQ is reading this….please. Do the right thing.