This McDonald's Menu Favorite Impacts the S&P

Those two words don’t even belong in the same sentence, but here we are.

Once the realm of aging celebrities, farewell tours are now extending increasingly into the the world of snack and and fast-food companies.

When Unilever  (UNLYF) ‘s Klondike announced that it would discontinue the classic Choco Taco dessert, fans who may not have eaten one in decades suddenly had a lot of feelings.

One person memorialized it as a 3D scan while many others rushed to the nearest gas station to get one last bite of the dessert.

Even though Klondike has hinted at the Choco Taco’s eventual return due to “overwhelming support,” it was still all too happy to join in on the farewell fanfare by handing out “last chance” Choco Tacos at baseball games, hotels and city streets in Washington.

Goodbye To All That (Sandwich)

The McRib has a long history of appearing and disappearing on McDonald’s  (MCD) – Get McDonald’s Corporation Report menus. The barbecue pork sandwich launched across its restaurants in 1982 but was pulled off the menu due to weak sales in 1985.

Between 1989 and 2006, the McRib (the name is somewhat deceptive as the meat is shaped like ribs but is simply a pork patty that does not actually contain bones) was a permanent menu item before being once again pulled off the menu.

The barbecue sandwich has a strong fan base and is an important menu item for McDonald’s history and pop culture–it was featured on shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” “Roseanne” and “The Simpsons.”

McDonald’s has kept the McRib off the menu since 2012 but, over the last two years, brought it back a few times as a Limited-Time Offer.

food, this mcdonald's menu favorite impacts the s&p


But while sales usually spike immediately after McDonald’s brings it back, they peter out over time.

The latest reappearance of the McRib is, if McDonald’s is to be taken at its word, going to be the last–the Golden Arches announced a “Farewell Tour” in which super-fans of the sandwich will be able to eat it before it goes for good on November 20.

“Get one while you can because this is the McRib Farewell Tour,” McDonald’s says on its website. “Enjoy our famous pork sandwich as if it’s your last!”

The Golden Arches even launched a McRib locator those who want to get the sandwich see where it is available.

The McRib And The S&P: A Direct Correlation

The posters seen at participating restaurants position this as the grandiose-sounding final goodbye but some are casting doubt on whether McDonald’s will be able to resist the craze that happens whenever it brings back the McRib.

Ritholtz Wealth Management COO and “Of Dollars And Data” founder Nick Maggiulli even calculated a correlation between the S&P 500 and the McRib’s availability.

“When the McRib is available, the S&P 500 has an average daily return about 7 basis points (0.07%) higher than on days when it is not available,” Maggiulli wrote in 2018. “To put that into perspective, when annualized, that difference would be 19% every year.”

But even so, a lot of the hype around the McRib is directly caused by the “it won’t be here long” effect as McRib sales eventually start lagging behind the chain’s more popular beef and chicken sandwiches.

“You need consistency because that’s the brand mantra,” Alexander Chernev, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said of the McRib to CNN in 2019. “But no matter how much you like something, consuming something different … increases the enjoyment of what you consumed before.”

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