McDonald’s is one of the most innovative menu developers in the QSR field, but it doesn’t like to mess with success, i.e. classic core items like the Big Mac. That’s why it’s surprising to see a new, crispier version of Chicken McNuggets called Chicken McBites show up in Australia and New Zealand.
New dipping sauces for McNuggets—first introduced nationwide in 1983—are common. For this year’s Winter Olympics, the chain created Zesty Mango and Spicy Szechuan sauces in Canada and a Sweet Chili sauce for McNuggets in the U.S. But the McNuggets didn’t change. Earlier this year, the chain tried a Quarter Pounder Deluxe LTO in Canada but that wasn’t a makeover. McDonald’s is testing Jalapeno Cheddar and Cheddar Onion versions of McChicken in San Diego, but that’s not a true core item.
Advertising for McBites from DDB Sydney describes them as “delicious bite-size pieces of succulent chicken breast in a crispy, Southern-style coating.” I don’t know if that’s a Southern Australia or Southern U.S. coating, but it’s apparently crispier than the “tempura batter” the chains says surrounds regular McNuggets (which continue to be offered in both countries).
McBites are priced at AU$2.95 (US$2.84) for 10. A 20-pack can be added to any of McDonald’s packaged Family Dinner Box meals for an additional AU$4.95 (US$4.76).
In Australia, at least, the little McBites aren’t the story. The big news is McDonald’s other new menu item, the Legend Chicken Burger. The “legend” here is famed cricketer Shane Warne—aka The King of Spin—whom we’re told helped create the chicken burger with the McDonald’s menu team. “We both agreed on 100% chicken breast and I love the sourdough bun, but it’s the spicy Legendary sauce that really makes this burger. I think it tastes great!” Warne says in a press statement, without explaining what’s in the sauce. Bacon, tomato, lettuce and cheese complete the build here.
Ξ Wendy’s, meanwhile, is playing around with sauces and burgers, too. In the Dallas area it’s test marketing a Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburger as an LTO. The chain had a hit with Spicy Chipotle Boneless Wings earlier this year.
Topped with a chipotle sauce, jalapeños, pepper-Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, the Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburger is priced at $3.69.