The Economics and Marketing Strategy Behind McDonald's McRib Sandwich

TLDR The McRib sandwich is a fascinating case study in economics, marketing, and internet fandom. It is periodically released by McDonald's to create excitement, generate interest, and align with low pork prices, but it can't stay for long due to the potential rise in pork prices.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The McRib sandwich is discussed in this episode of Everything Everywhere Daily.
01:11 The McRib sandwich is a fascinating case study in economics, marketing, and internet fandom as it is almost never on the menu at McDonald's and appears seemingly randomly.
02:18 The McRib sandwich was created as a substitute for the chicken McNugget due to high demand and limited chicken availability, and it is made of reconstituted pork shaped to resemble ribs.
03:22 The McRib sandwich has had multiple releases and retirements since its national debut in 1981, including limited regional runs, a nationwide release in 1994, and a farewell tour in 2005, before its most recent nationwide launch in December 2020.
04:28 The reason why McDonald's releases the McRib sandwich periodically instead of selling it all the time remains a mystery, as the company has never directly answered the question, although they have mentioned wanting to have variety in their menu.
05:32 McDonald's releases the McRib periodically to create a sense of excitement and to generate interest, as well as to align with low pork prices in order to make a profit.
06:37 The McRib appears when pork prices are low, but it can't stay for long because it would cause pork prices to rise, and it is likely a low-margin or loss-leading product for McDonald's.
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