Why Did McDonald's Discontinue Its Big N' Tasty Burger?

McDonald's Big N' Tasty burger
McDonald's Big N' Tasty burger - Fanfo/Shutterstock

McDonald's has been around for a long time, so it's no surprise the company has had its share of product failures. Some, like the Arch Deluxe, were an unmitigated disaster due to expensive and ill-advised advertising, while others, like the Mighty Wings, failed because they weren't cost-effective, and still others, like the McDLT, failed because they were a bafflingly bad idea to begin with. But, occasionally, you have a product that fails for none of these reasons. Enter the Big N' Tasty.

The Big N' Tasty was introduced in 1997 as the latest in a long line of McDonald's answers to Burger King's Whopper: A sesame seed bun topped with a quarter-pound beef patty, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, ketchup, and mayo. So why was the Big N' Tasty discontinued in 2011? Because it didn't sell well enough to justify the fact it was too big -- or at least, that's the conclusion we can draw from the discontinuation of another very similar menu item. McDonald's has never directly addressed the loss of the Big N' Tasty, but it has done so for a different but extremely similar burger: the Big Tasty.

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The Big Tasty Just Took Up Too Much Physical Space

Person eating a mcdonald's burger
Person eating a mcdonald's burger - New Africa/Shutterstock

Usually, when fast food menu items fully disappear, we don't actually find out why because the company doesn't comment on it. Such was the case with Taco Bell's Bell Beefer, which vanished from menus with no real explanation. In this case, though, we might have an official reason, or close to one, for the disappearance of the Big N' Tasty. See, there's a very similar McDonald's sandwich sold outside the United States called the Big Tasty that features Emmental cheese and a special Big Tasty sauce. When McDonald's discontinued that menu item, it actually issued a rare official statement: the Big Tasty simply occupied too much physical space.

So, does the disappearance of the Big Tasty explain the disappearance of the Big N' Tasty? Quite possibly. Cost and space efficiency are huge parts of the game for fast food giants, so the explanation makes sense. There's a similar answer at play for why the McDonald's salad was discontinued during the COVID-19 pandemic: In addition to having a shorter shelf life than beef, lettuce is just more expensive to transport because of space constraints.

It's Unclear If The Big N' Tasty Will Ever Come Back

McDonald's cheese burger
McDonald's cheese burger - flamsy/Shutterstock

Nevertheless, while the Big N' Tasty clearly didn't sell well enough to keep it around forever, McDonald's has hinted it may not be permanently done with it as a menu item. Maybe the Big N' Tasty didn't have the explosive popularity of, say, Chicken McNuggets, but, unlike the McDLT, it had its devotees. McDonald's statement about the very similar Big Tasty even referred to it as a "customer favorite." In that same breath, McDonald's also teased the sandwich's return (which eventually did come to pass).

It's unclear if the same could happen with the Big N' Tasty in the United States, but the company has brought back items before; the Cheddar Melt, for instance, has made sporadic appearances since being discontinued in the early '90s. Until it happens, though, customers will have to be content with hacking the menu for one by ordering a quarter pounder with no mustard but added lettuce, tomato, and mayo.

Read the original article on Daily Meal