McDonald's (MCD) - Get Free Report may never get Americans to try, let alone like, the Fuwa-toro Egg Demi-glace Gracoro. A combination of the words “gratin” and “croquette,” the Gracoro is a deep-fried puffy patty filled with a mixture of macaroni, shrimp, and a white sauce that Japan calls gratin.
That may be the most unique menu item that sits under the Golden Arches anywhere in the world, but it's fair to say it would not be an easy sell in the United States. The same might be true for Restaurant Brands International's (QSR) - Get Free Report Burger King's "Matcha Pie," which is on its menus in Japan.
It's not so much that Americans don't know matcha, Starbucks has made it common enough, but it's better known as a drink, not a dessert that's very green. It does not help that the filling looks like the inside of an alien from a B-grade science fiction movie, and while the Gracoro may be a little more odd, neither seems like a big candidate for introduction in either chain's home market.
That does not mean that both McDonald's and Burger King don't have items from their Japanese menus which could be big hits in the U.S. if either company brought them over.
About as simple an idea as you can have, Shaka-Chicki is simply a piece of fried chicken served in a cardboard sleeve. You can customize yours by shaking it with varying toppings which currently include red pepper and cheddar cheese.
It's basically a chicken finger that's shaped like a McDonald's hash brown with the added gimmick of being able to shake on dry toppings. That's a simple, versatile menu item that could be offered with new toppings regularly.
It's also something that can easily be made with little added effort by the chain's kitchen.
Burger King: Chicken Nugget Golden Cheezy
Burger King has tried to evolve the chicken nugget with the easy-to-eat while driving Chicken Fry. That idea has not been a huge hit, but it has managed to stick around on its menu.
The real answer when it comes to nugget innovation may already be on one of the chain's menus. Burger King Japan periodically offers Chicken Nugget Golden Cheesy. And, while the syntax on the name could be better, the product seems like it would be popular anywhere in the world,
The nuggets add a cheese sauce to the chicken, all contained inside the breading. It's a simple idea, but one that certainly seems to have universal appeal.
McDonald's: Bacon McEgg Sandwich
This one seems so simple that it's actually surprising it's not offered in the U.S. The Bacon McEgg Sandwich is simply a classic McDonald's breakfast sandwich served on a hamburger bun rather than a biscuit, a bagel, or an English Muffin.
U.S. McDonald's could literally make this sandwich -- they have all the ingredients -- but they never have. Using a soft hamburger bun for breakfast sandwiches is not unique, but it would be an easy addition that could prove popular.
Burger King: Guilty Porcini Burger
The Guilty Burger line would in a broad sense be popular wherever Burger King brought it. Each burger offers a butter-soaked bun and puts fries directly on the burger. There's also a chicken version.
"The Guilty Porcini Beef Burger and The Guilty Porcini Chicken Burger both top their respective flame-broiled beef of fried chicken patty with a heap of french fries, but also come with a creamy sauce filled with the rich flavor of mushrooms. The sauce uses five different types of fall favorite in season mushrooms: eringi mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms," Japan Today reported.
McDonald's: Bai Big Mac
Sometimes bigger is better. In this case, the Bai Big Mac is simply a Big Mac with double patties. That means you get four burgers along with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and the three-part sesame seed bun.
It's excessive and it looks like it would be hard to eat, but it seems very American and it could be added to the U.S. menu with no additional ingredients required.