How COVID Brought About The Fall Of The McDonald's Salad

chicken salad in glass bowl
chicken salad in glass bowl - McDonald's/Facebook

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

First introduced in 1987, salads were a lighter alternative to the standard fast food fare served at McDonald's. While the types of salads and even containers changed over the years -- McSalad Shakers were a short-lived thing -- salads remained a staple on menus. They offered a menu option for those wanting more veggies. However, all of that changed in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. While the pandemic did cause restaurants to temporarily close, including some McDonald's locations, it was the effects on the supply chain in 2021 that spelled doom for salads at McDonald's.

The pandemic caused shortages in inventory and higher prices across multiple industries, including the restaurant industry. As such, McDonald's had to take stock of its menu and shave it down in a few areas due to rising costs and high demand. The chain's all-day breakfast was one causality, but so was the chain's salads. The lettuce used in McDonald's salads was different from the lettuce used in the chain's burgers. By getting rid of the salads, McDonald's was able to both deal with supply shortages and save money in the process. The pandemic also caused the company to consider other factors as well.

Read more: The Ultimate American Fast Food Restaurants Ranked

McDonald's Opens Up About Its Salad

salad in a McDonald's container
salad in a McDonald's container - McDonald's/Facebook

The COVID-19 pandemic caused McDonald's to reevaluate its menu. Besides just a cost factor, the company realized it could streamline its drive-thru operations by getting rid of its salads. Salads proved to be an additional hassle that took longer to make than the chain's sandwiches. With indoor dining closed and most customers going to the drive-thru during this time, McDonald's settled on a pared-down menu.

As reported by The Washington Post, McDonald's released a statement explaining its reasons for the change. Part of the statement read: "More than ever, customers are relying on McDonald's to serve delicious food quickly, conveniently, and safely, which is why we transitioned to a limited menu in April [2020]. This decision helped simplify operations for our restaurant crew while also improving our customers' experience."

According to Restaurant Dive, this method proved to be successful: The streamlined menu cut drive-thru wait times by 30 seconds, leading to an increase in customer satisfaction and sales. It also doesn't help that salads weren't quite the big seller they appeared to be. In a time of a pandemic, the chain decided to cut costs where it could, and salads had to go.

Will Salads Ever Return To McDonald's?

a container of McDonald's chicken salad on a tray
a container of McDonald's chicken salad on a tray - rzoze19/Shutterstock

While we're not fortune tellers here at Daily Meal, the prospects of McDonald's bringing salads back nationally any time soon don't look great. As mentioned, the company realized that salads complicated the workflow and failed to drive sales enough to keep them around. However, just because McDonald's doesn't have salads nationally doesn't prevent your local restaurant from stocking them. Reportedly, some locations still sell salads, but the only way to know for sure if yours does is to visit and ask.

Still, that hasn't stopped a few customers from attempting to bring salads back to the menu everywhere. One person started a petition in January 2023, writing, "This is unfortunate, many of their customers seeking healthier options enjoyed their salads." However, the petition failed to garner the attention needed to get McDonald's on board, with only 324 people having signed it at the time of writing. However, McDonald's is always revamping its menu so maybe it will eventually resurrect its salads down the line. The company has certainly toyed with the idea on social media, writing on X (formerly Twitter) in April 2023, "my grandma got a twitter just to tell me to bring back mcsalad shakers."

Read the original article on Daily Meal.