The Mighty Wings price has been seriously clipped.
The bone-in chicken wings brought McDonald's some angst -- if not embarrassment -- last year when the wings sold poorly at about $1 a wing. This week, McDonald's brought them back to stores -- and began to nationally advertise them again -- at 40% price reduction. Now, a pack of five fetches $3 -- or about 60-cents per wing.
McDonald's now concedes that the early regional testing it did on Mighty Wings last year did not reflect what consumers nationally might be willing to pay. Or, for that matter, just how much spice they want on their wings.
"While pricing during the national advertised launch was consistent with the test markets (Atlanta and Chicago), those markets were heavy wing markets which did not reflect some of our broader customers feelings towards the price and spice of the wings," says Lisa McComb, a McDonald's spokeswoman.
While the amount of spice has not been changed, "there is more awareness that they have a spicy kick to them," says McComb.
For McDonald's, Mighty Wings has been a rather high-profile new product disappointment. While it's not uncommon for some new products to perform well regionally but poorly on a national scale, McDonald's CEO Don Thompson had high hopes for Mighty Wings.
The problem, however, wasn't the product, but the price. "The product is good, but the price was too high," says Scott Hume, founder of the BurgerBusiness.com blog. "The lesson that McDonald's and other quick-service brands keep learning and relearning is that much of the (fast food) audience is unemployed, underemployed or otherwise very cautious with spending."
Although the national re-rollout began this week, "thousands" of McDonald's restaurants have continued to sell Mighty Wings since they were introduced in Sept. 2013, says McComb.
But it's too early to write an obituary for Might Wings, advises Hume. "If Mighty Wings score at 5 for $3 then they'll be back," he says. "But if the price break doesn't make them sell, then McDonald's is unlikely to give wings another try."