The Gourmet Burger Service You Forgot McDonald's Used To Offer

In the mid-2010s, McDonald's experimented with a "Create Your Taste" concept. The gist, as they explained in a 2015 press release announcing the program's expansion, is that customers are presented with a tablet on which they can assemble a fully customizable burger, from buns to cheese to toppings to sauces. "Our guests today want quality toppings and the ability to customize their experience," Scott Rodrick, a McDonald's licensee in San Francisco, explained, following the industry's trend towards prioritizing individual experiences over mass produced foodstuffs.

However, in November 2016, McDonald's announced that it would no longer offer the "Create Your Taste" experience. Business Insider explained that the length of time it took to prepare a custom burger and the fact that a custom burger could command a cost double that of the Big Mac was an issue. Additionally, BuzzFeed News noted the additional problem that in a drive-thru, one couldn't see how much a customized burger would cost until paying, giving customers a nasty shock at the end.

However, as Becca Hary, a McDonald's spokesperson told Business Insider, "Our customers appreciate the additional choices and the control of being able to order from kiosks." So McDonald's introduced the Signature Crafted Recipes line, which consisted of fewer options, but still offered higher-quality ingredients and limited customization. In 2019, however, USA Today reported that McDonald's would discontinue this line as well. Perhaps they finally learned the lesson of the Deluxe line fiasco, that most patrons of McDonald's don't desire them to go artisanal.

Internet users may have played a role as well

While the reasons why customized burgers failed at McDonald's given by Business Insider and BuzzFeed News do sound plausible, the debacle concerning the rollout of this program in New Zealand can't have helped. On July 1, 2016, McDonald's New Zealand launched a web-based service for customers to customize and name their McDonald's burger. After all, the program worked so well elsewhere. However, as Dorkly noted on July 20, 2016, the fact that users could share their creations led to, in their words, "a non-stop parade of the world's most racist sandwiches."

The sandwiches begin banal enough with a stack of patties called "Girth," or an empty plain bun called "Bernie's Socialist Feast." The inanity worsens when you look at pictures shared on Know Your Meme with "Harambe is Gone Haha" and "Pepe." Presumably, the examples grow even more dire, but anyone sharing pictures of the webpage refrained from capturing them. Presumably, because as an edit on the Dorkly article noted, the next day McDonald's New Zealand deleted the webpage. Of course, some New Zealander trolls probably didn't destroy the option to create your own burger, but the timing of events meant that the headache was probably present when McDonald's finally decided to discontinue the project.