McDonald’s has introduced a new Southwest Chicken Premium McWrap as a limited-time offer through the end of the year.

The item, available at McDonald’s more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants, contains either grilled or crispy chicken glazed with a cilantro-lime sauce, spring greens and lettuce, tomatoes, Cheddar-Jack cheese, tortilla strips and a creamy habanero-ranch sauce, served in a flour tortilla.

The McWrap was introduced in late March in three varieties and was part of a busy spring of product introductions for Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s Corp. The chain also rolled out the Egg White Delight McMuffin in April and three new varieties of Quarter Pounder burgers in May.

Several insights went into the development of the new McWrap variety, McDonald’s USA director of marketing Leslie Truelove said, including the popularity of the habanero-ranch sauce in the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder. The same sauce goes into the new Chicken Southwest McWrap, as do the tortilla strips and cilantro-lime glaze from the Premium Southwest Salad.

“We know that a lot of customers really enjoyed bold, spicy flavors,” Truelove said. “It seemed they liked that flavor on the Quarter Pounder, and we thought of ways we could apply this idea to the Premium McWrap line.”

She added that the Premium McWrap platform itself was an example of a menu idea from other areas of the world that McDonald’s imported to the United States.

McDonald’s franchisees have expressed concerns several times in the past few years that the menu has become too big to execute efficiently and profitably, even as the franchisor moves forward with initiatives like the test of a Dollar Menu and More platform, a “high-density kitchen” in the back of the house, and digital ordering and marketing tools.

But Truelove said the input of both the operations and culinary teams “always is part of our consideration” when developing new menu items.

“This was a great opportunity to take what was already in the restaurant, make the McWrap platform even fresher and make a line extension,” she said. “We think about our operators and consider whether they can make the product in the service times we need them to.”

Advertising for the Southwest Chicken Premium McWrap will roll out nationwide next week. There are no plans currently to make the new McWrap a fixture on the menu, “but we’ll see if it earns its way onto the menu board on a permanent basis,” Truelove said.

McDonald’s operates or franchises more than 34,000 restaurants worldwide.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN