Wendy's introduced the now beloved sea-salt french fries and even Burger King got away from its mushy, fat french fries by introducing the same thin style fries as McDonald's. Burger King even has crinkle fries.
And it's not just fries we're talking about here. Wendy's and Burger King have started to attack different parts of the menu upon which McDonald's built its success: breakfast items, the dollar menu, and frappes and coffee.
Make no mistake about it, McDonald's was the king of fast food, but its throne has been under siege for the past few years.
I used to go to McDonald's solely for its fries. I liked Wendy's burgers, but its fries used to be horrible.
But now that McDonald's competitors have brought their fries up to snuff, it doesn't matter much to me what fast food restaurant I eat at. For the most part now, I prefer stopping at a Panera Bread (PNRA) or a Tim Hortons (THI) (but the secular shift of healthy eating is a different story).
So McDonald's decision to introduce a new fry -- Shakin' Flavor Fries -- is a great move. The company needs something, anything to get customers coming back in the door.
Trying to maintain the status quo is no longer working. New products are necessary, even if it's the successful original french fry that needs changing.