The Most Expensive Menu Item Flop Of All Time

Most restaurants are conscientious of the fact that adding a new item to a menu has risks and implications attached to it.

Much like ordering wholesale aprons that fit the brand, setting up the dining area in a way that provides the particular ambience your restaurant wants to present and ensuring ingredients are of a high quality and were sourced responsibly, new menu items can have positive and negative effects.

At no point has the effects of a new menu item been made more evident than when a fast food chain attempted to go upmarket and lost hundreds of millions of pounds in the process.

In the mid-1990s, McDonald’s wanted to shed its child-focused image and aim at a more adult audience, but its first attempt to do so would take the form of the infamous Arch Deluxe.

Instead of making a fundamental change to the menu or discontinuing campaigns such as McDonaldland or Mac Tonight, McDonald’s added a range of sandwiches that had a higher price but were made of higher quality ingredients and were targeted at older customers through strange advertising.

A major part of the Arch Deluxe’s advertising campaign is a series of adverts that had children respond badly to the sandwich, which did not necessarily lead to adults giving it a try.

As well as this, it was relatively expensive compared to the typical menu and with a higher calorie content than adult health-conscious audiences may have liked, the Arch Deluxe sold remarkably poorly.

After launching in late 1996 it would last less than two years before it started being discontinued, with the last Arch Deluxes being sold on 18th August 2000.

Whilst the market research would later be used to develop McDonald’s line of salads, the Deluxe range still stands as one of the most expensive food flops of all time.

March 30, 2023 — Jacob Blakey