McDonald’s bringing back McRib in 75% of U.S. stores

Leslie Patton
Bloomberg News

McDonald’s Corp., struggling to boost sales in the U.S., is bringing back the McRib sandwich this week in about three-quarters of its domestic locations.

“The McRib is making its annual return this week,” Lisa McComb, a spokeswoman for the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company, said in an e-mail Wednesday. “It’s a regional option, so our franchisees choose whether or not they wish to serve it.”

The world’s largest restaurant chain has been trying to attract Americans with new and discounted fare. McDonald’s recently introduced a $2 jalapeno burger and also has given away free coffees to lure diners from competitors. Last month, the chain said sales at U.S. stores open at least 13 months fell 3.3 percent in the third quarter, the fourth straight quarterly decline.

“They are looking to get a little bit more of a sales lift,” said Sara Senatore, a New York-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. “Of all the products and all the limited- time offers, this is one that’s clearly a cult classic.”

The McRib is made from a frozen pork patty and is topped with barbecue sauce, onions and pickles. It has 500 calories, similar to the 530-calorie Big Mac burger. While prices may vary across the country, restaurants in Northeast Ohio are selling the sandwich for $2.99.

McDonald’s rose 0.3 percent to $94.75 at 12:08 p.m. in New York. The shares declined 2.6 percent this year through yesterday, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 8.9 percent.

The chain has been trying to simplify its menu to help speed up service after too many items bogged down kitchens. It’s gotten rid of Caesar salads and McSkillet burritos to make way for new regional fare. In Chicago, McDonald’s stores have recently sold chorizo-style burritos and grits.

Still, “no single product can really move the needle on this company, and that’s ultimately the challenge,” said Senatore, who has a market perform rating on the shares.

McDonald’s has more than 14,200 U.S. locations, and about 90 percent of those are franchised. The company first began selling McRib sandwiches in 1982, according to its website.