For six weeks starting April 18, the 1,228 McDonald's restaurants across France will feature the McBaguette, with a burger made from France's famed Charolais beef. McDonald's said the burger will be topped with French-made Emmental cheese and mustard. It will replace the chain's current special offer here: three limited-edition burgers featuring locally produced cheeses.
The promotion is in line with the U.S. company's successful global strategy of updating its restaurants to appeal to a broader clientele, while offering a more varied menu, up and down the price scale. In France that involves tapping into a national obsession: bread.
McDo—as the French call it—is trying to appeal to national culinary tastes elsewhere in Europe too. The company has devised around 20 locally tailored menu items in some 14 European including Finland, where it offers the Rye McFeast, a burger served on a rye bun, and Spain, where it offers the tomato-based soup Gazpacho.
In Italy, McDonald's teamed up in October with Gualtiero Marchesi, the country's only three-star chef, to create three new recipes: two sandwiches and a dessert. It sold the sandwiches, called Adagio and Vivace, for €4.50 ($5.96) apiece and Minuetto, the dessert, for €2. The company said it has similar partnerships under way in Germany and Austria.
In France, McCafés already are serving slices of baguette for breakfast, as well as macarons, sweet meringue-based confections that are riding a popularity wave of their own during the day. Both products are supplied by Groupe Holder, owner of Ladurée and the Paul bakery chain.
McDonald's foray into baguette sandwiches could give it more pricing power. The McBaguette will be sold for €4.50, more than a euro above the average price of a sandwich in France and within the range of McDonald's premium burgers like the Big Tasty. McDonald's said it could introduce the baguette burger again if the initial six-week run is a success.