McDonald’s tests new French fries in Philly
It may not be as buzzy as the McRib, but we found out McDonald’s is launching a new kind of fries. Don’t worry: The originals will still be available. But if this test run in Philadelphia, St. Louis and Sacramento goes well, you might start seeing Shakin’ Flavor Fries on the menu at every Mickey D’s.
McDonald’s brought the fries to Metro’s Philly office for an impromptu taste test. We tried out all three seasonings: garlic parmesan, spicy buffalo and zesty ranch. To “make” them, put regular fries into the provided bag, add as much of the seasoning packet as you think you can handle, close the bag (that one’s important), shake ‘em up, and stuff them in your face.
Our consensus? Everyone liked the garlic parmesan best — but they still couldn’t top the original, unseasoned version. Some recipes just can’t be improved.
Q & A with McDonald’s
John Durante, president of McDonald’s Restaurants of the Greater Philadelphia Region Owner/Operator Association, talked to us about what it’s like developing and launching a new product like Shakin’ Flavor Fries.
Q: Who decides to test out a new product?
A: Chef Dan, McDonald’s executive chef and vice president, Culinary Innovation, and his team, work together to brainstorm and test hundreds of menu items each month. They’re responsible for making sure the products McDonald’s has are on trend — bold, flavorful and exciting. The menu process can be very long, but eventually test products, like the Shakin’ Flavor Fries, are launched in select markets nationwide, to see how customers react to the new product.
The Shakin’ Flavor Fries, specifically, came from the popular seasoned fries in Asia known as Shake Shake, which first debuted in 2005 in Hong Kong before spreading into other countries including China, India and Australia.
Q: Do you find people come in specifically to try a new product?
A: McDonald’s has many “tried and true” products that people have come to expect on the menu but we also look forward to pushing the envelope and encouraging our customers to explore new menu items.
Q: Have you ever tested a new product that failed?
A: Some products do extremely well, and make it onto our menu permanently, other products don’t test as well. It’s a trial-and-error process when it comes to menu innovation.
Q: Are Shakin’ Flavor Fries going to be a big hit?
A: Our customers love the classic French fry, so we have no doubt that they will like the idea of customizing this classic with the seasoning of their choice. Plus, this has been such a huge hit in the Asian markets, we are sure our customers, throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region, will love the variety of flavors, and we look forward to their feedback.