McDonald’s menu adds a new take on pizza. Could it be coming to the U.S.?

McDonald’s, at least in the United States, has a troubled relationship with pizza. The chains tried to introduce McPizza in the 1980s as a family-sized pie brought to your table and served on a raised stand.

That eventually gave way to an individual-sized pizza that fits the chain’s menu better, but it’s fair to say it was never a big hit.

“By 1991, the McDonald’s test markets for pizza had grown to over 500 locations before being placed on hold,” the McDonald’s Wiki wrote. McPizza was discontinued in almost all restaurants by 2000 because the eleven to sixteen-minute cook was out of sync with the restaurant’s reputation for fast service.”

Pizza has remained a challenge for not just McDonald’s but rivals like Wendy’s and Burger King. It seems like something people would want from those chains, but none of the big three has been able to launch a successful pizza-like product.

That may be because a traditional pizza will never work due to the prep time required and the special equipment needed to make a product that meets basic quality standards. And, while you can still get McPizza (and McSpaghetti) at a single U.S. location in Orlando, that form factor may not be the answer.

A new McDonald’s product in Germany, however, may finally give the chain a pizza product that would work in the U.S.

If McDonald’s can bring Grimace back, why not a return for McPizza? Image source: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images
If McDonald’s can bring Grimace back, why not a return for McPizza? Image source: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

A different type of McPizza

McDonald’s customers in Germany are being treated to a new take on pizza along with another popular promotion that has not appeared in the U.S. for years.

“McDonald’s just released pizza pockets in Germany AND they have Monopoly,” the popular Snackolator Instagram page shared. “Look I know I whine a lot about international items, but at least give us Monopoly! The Pizzataschen option are effectively pizza pockets you can get in 3 and 5-piece orders and I’ve seen a few early reviews that were all very positive.”

That’s not exactly a pizza, but it’s a differentiated take on one that sort of checks off the flavor boxes in a way that the chain can actually produce quickly. This isn’t McDonald’s trying to take on Pizza Hut or Domino’s. It’s the chain giving pizza lovers a viable option when they happen to be in a McDonald’s.

McDonald’s has not held its once-popular Monopoly promotion in the U.S. since 2015. The company has, at least in its home market, generally avoided prize-based promotions for the past few years.

McDonald’s tries a new approach to promotions

McDonald’s often tries an idea in one market, than brings it to others or even adapts the concept for use globally. That’s a strategy CFO Ian Borden talked about during the company’s third-quarter earnings call.

“Germany delivered its highest-ever monthly sales performance by focusing on the evolving needs of our customers amid increasing macro pressures. The market launched a “Your Remix, Your Deal” promotion exclusively in the app allowing customers to build their own small bundles,” he said.

That success led to other markets trying similar ideas.

“This approach of smaller, more affordable bundles featuring our core menu favorites was first highlighted earlier this year in Germany and the U.K. with the launch of new permanent value offerings and has since been adapted locally in other markets,” he added.

It’s a simple twist that leans into the company’s core menu items rather than offering up new ones.

“In Canada, a highly competitive breakfast market, the team offered customers a more affordable option with the McMuffin and hot coffee pairing. By simply featuring our core products, at a compelling price point during a critical day part, we drove market share gains in both breakfast and coffee, demonstrating how providing customers, what they want at great value always resonates,” the CFO explained.

The chain has had a long-standing version of this in its home market.

“The D123 Everyday Value Menu in the U.S. takes a similar approach to affordable bundles with nationally promoted products at locally relevant price points. The platform features products such as the McDouble or four-piece McNuggets. With a bundle offered at each day part, customers can visit McDonald’s for an affordable meal no matter the time of day,” he shared.