Why McDonald's new Travis Scott meal has some franchisees unhappy

Ever wonder what made Travis Scott such a successful hip-hop artist? How he got so big that he could attract 12.3 million people to a virtual concert on the multiplayer video game Fortnite (via TechCrunch)? Could it have been the special-order McDonald's meal he loved while growing up in Houston? While it may have not been that last part, you can now get familiar with the meal from Mickey D's that he always orders.

McDonald's is already the biggest player in the fast-food game (via QSR), but the brand is hoping some of Scott's success and Gen-Z appeal will rub off on the Golden Arches (via Eater). And you get the chance to decide for yourself how inspiring Scott's favorite meal really is. In a special promotion with Scott, McDonald's is serving up the Cactus Jack for one month, starting Tuesday, September 8. The Cactus Jack, named after Scott's nickname and record label, is a very specific combo meal. 

"Everyone has a favorite McDonald's meal, no matter who you are," McDonald's U.S. Chief Marketing Officer, Morgan Flatley, said in a press release. "This is the first time in nearly 30 years we've introduced a superstar's name to our menu — we're excited to bring the Travis Scott Meal to a McDonald's near you starting next week."

What's in a Cactus Jack combo meal, anyway?

What is Travis Scott's Cactus Jack meal?

If you order a Cactus Jack combo meal, you'll get: a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon, and lettuce; medium fries with barbecue dipping sauce; and a Sprite — all for $6 (although keep in mind that prices may vary). "Travis is a true McDonald's fan, having grown up visiting our restaurants in Houston, not to mention one of the biggest musical acts and cultural icons in the world," Flatley said. For Scott's part, he said he was thrilled to be partnering with McDonald's to support charities through the sale of his meal, but details about who gets the donations haven't been released yet. 

"I couldn't be more excited to bring the Cactus Jack x McDonald's collaboration to life," said Travis Scott. "We are bringing together two iconic worlds. Including a charitable component was key for me, and I can't wait for people to see what we have in store."

Before Scott, no celebrity has gotten their name on a McDonald's meal since Michael Jordan's McJordan burger in 1992. That meal was another variation on the Quarter Pounder. Apparently, His Airness also liked his burger with bacon, minus ketchup, and add a special barbecue sauce (via Ball Is Life). 

McDonald's partnership with Travis Scott doesn't sit well with some owners

But as a musical artist, Scott is turning out to be a more controversial choice for upholding McDonald's family-friendly image. A survey of franchisees showed that two-thirds opposed the partnership with Travis Scott because of his explicit lyrics (via Restaurant Business), including references to drug use and sex (via Genius). But McDonald's is clearly hoping Scott's youth appeal — and his ability to sell just about anything — will pay off. "From his impossible-to-get Nike sneaker line, to a cereal collab with General Mills that sold out in 30 seconds, to a record-setting virtual concert series inside Fortnite, Travis Scott is the definition of big in culture," Flatley said (via Complex). "He will resonate and spark excitement with our youthful multicultural customers, and has a few surprises to delight our crew and ensure they are part of the excitement."

Those "surprises" include uniforms for McDonald's staff designed by Scott himself. It'll be worth staying tuned to see which charities benefit from the McDonald's-Travis Scott partnership. McDonald's recently donated $1 million to the National Urban League and the NAACP, after the police killing of George Floyd brought calls for racial-justice reform (via Delish).

Will there be future McDonald's collaborations?

Also, the Travis Scott x McDonald's partnership may not be the last duo dreamed up by the fast food giant. "Travis is the first in a suite of big celebrities that resonate across segments and are true fans of our food and our brand," noted Flatley. "We can't wait to share the rest of the lineup... in due time." 

However, it's possible they may have been hinting about collaborations with celebrities way back in February, as their Super Bowl commercial featured favorite orders from celebs like Keith Urban and Millie Bobby Brown, fictional characters like the Big Bad Wolf and the Hamburglar, and Super Bowl participants like Patrick Mahomes, which included lots of ketchup (via YouTube).