I Was Lovin’ It: A Mclook at old menu items

photo credit: Zion Clifton

McDonalds: the No.1 fast-food chain in the world. Based in the United States, the quick service restaurant was founded in California in 1940 by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald according to foodydata.com. 

Since 1940, McDonalds has been standing strong with its golden arches and familiar menu items. Over time, these restaurants have woven themselves into the fabric of society, evolving and adapting over the years.

“I have been working at McDonalds for some time now, and in the past years I have seen more changes than ever before. Most of the changes happened due to Covid but ended up working out well and sticking,” McDonald’s employee Kahi Powell said. 

One of the biggest company changes happens to be with what they’re known for most: their menu. Amidst the fan favorites like the Big Mac and Chicken McNuggets, there lies a host of retired food items that can evoke some nostalgia and curiosity among patrons.

“Honestly, one of the things I love most about McDonalds, and fast food places in general, is the fact that their menus are always changing. It mixes things up and keeps it new,” McDonalds lover Sarah Miller said. 

McDonald’s has a history of introducing and retiring menu items based on customer preferences, seasonal offerings, and market trends. Although no longer available, these items remain ingrained in the memories of loyal patrons and enthusiasts alike.

“There are some items I remember from when I was young that my parents would get us all the time, that are no longer available. I wish big companies like that would circle back around and try to bring back some older items-even if they have to change them up a little,” Miller said. 

One such item is the “McPizza,” introduced in the late 1980s as an attempt to tap into the pizza market. Despite its initial popularity, the logistical challenges of serving pizza in a fast-food setting led to its eventual retirement according to soyummy.

“Even though a lot of popular items have been taken off the menu, we still have customers come in and try to order them all the time. Apps like Tiktok and Instagram get people to believe that either certain items exist, even though they don’t, or that retired items are coming back, which is usually unlikely. It’s best to get all your information like this from employees, the app, or commercials on TV,” Powell said. 

Although it was popular at one time, the menu item unlikely to be brought up on social media is the McSalad Shakers. Introduced in the early 2000s, McSalad Shakers were salads served in a plastic cup with a domed lid. Customers could shake the cup to distribute the dressing evenly. Despite initial popularity, they were eventually phased out.

“From what I’ve heard, the salads we used to serve years and years ago were never too great. Some people loved them, but most couldn’t imagine going to get fast food and ending up with a salad instead of fried chicken or a burger,” Powell said. 

As McDonald’s continues to navigate the evolving landscape of fast food, the memory of its retired menu items shows its journey of culinary experimentation and adaptation. While some items may be gone, they live on in the memories of customers, reminding us of the ever-changing nature of dining culture.